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Elementary school students hone their bilingual skills at Glendale restaurant

Posted at 9:45 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 00:45:13-04

GLENDALE — Inside the Glendale location of Ajo Al’s, first, second and third graders from Horizon Elementary School got a hands-on lesson in Mexican culture Monday as part of the district's dual-language learning program.

“As I told them in class, being able to speak a second language is like a superpower, so they have a superpower and they are using it today,” said second grade teacher Ysaura Cardenas.

Cardenas says for the past four years, the school has put an emphasis on preparing their students for a multilingual world, requiring them to develop a proficiency in a second language.

“We’ve been hard at work giving our children these voices and making them bi-literate, bilingual, and teaching them to be aware of different cultures,” said Horizon Elementary Principal Sarah Balder.

Today, those children are putting it to the test. They ordered all of their food and made special requests exclusively in Spanish, working on their Spanish with bilingual employees and management.

“Being exposed in a real context where they actually need to use the language in order to get their food is challenging them,” said Cardenas.

This is the second year they’ve offered this immersive learning experience at Ajo Al's, practicing their words while they dine alongside their friends.

“The research predicts and tells us the earlier we get to speak two languages the better it is for their brains, the better it is for their ability to think critically, and problem solve,” said Balder.

A recipe for success made even more memorable by educational field trips like these.