Spanish, French and More: Foreign-Language Classes for Kids on Long Island
Learning a second (or third) language can be hugely beneficial to kids. Research has shown that language learning can not only improve memory and problem-solving skills, but can also help with multitasking and improve academic performance. Not to mention that being able to communicate in multiple languages will help kids navigate our increasingly diverse communities, workplaces, and schools.
If you have less than fond memories of sitting through high school Spanish or French classes, don't fret. There are a number of schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties that offer classes—including mommy/daddy-and-me—to expose your child to a new world of words and phrases in a fun learning environment. It's easier for babies and young children to master another language than it is for teens and adults. Learning with your child can be a bonding experience and something that you can share for years to come.
Depending on the school, classes are offered in levels from beginners to advanced. Prices for classes vary by school; contact each directly for costs.
And be sure to look at our classes and enrichment guide for more ways to learn what your kids might enjoy.
JP Language Institute offers eight foreign languages in a fun creative atmosphere.
Spanish Immersion Workshop -
Garden City, Manhasset, Dix Hills
The Chiquitos parent and child program is for children ages 1 to 3 years old. The Partial Separation program is for children ages 1½ to 3 years. Classes start off with a caregiver present, but as the child begins to feel more comfortable and interact with the teacher independently, partial separation is encouraged. The Chicos program offers classes for children ranging in age from 2 to 11 years old. Classes are one hour, once per week. The Chicos program is geared toward children who can attend classes without a parent. The Garden City and Dix Hills location offer more intensive language programs too. Visit the website for more details.
JP Language Institute -
Melville, Garden City, Bayshore
This school offers eight foreign-language courses, translation services, and an international cultural studies program. At the school in Melville, students from beginner to advanced can learn in weekly after-school or weekend classes. In addition to languages such as Chinese, Spanish, French, and Japanese; classes in Chinese calligraphy, origami, and oil painting are also offered. Summer camp is available for students age 6 and up. Campers enjoy mental arithmetic and art class and choose to study Chinese, Spanish, or English language.
Students love the challenge of building and counting as high as they can at Little Linguals in Massapequa.
Little Linguals - Massapequa
At Little Linguals bilingual classes are offered in Spanish, Italian, French, Mandarin, and sign language for children starting at age 3 ½. Classes include diverse activities including music, hands-on activities, games, and even field trips. Classes meet Saturday mornings and there are camps and workshops available too.
All About Spanish - North Bellmore
This school offers a Spanish Enrichment Program starting with a mommy/daddy-and-me class for children ages 15 months old to 2 years and 11 months old and class for children 3 to 4 years and 11 months old who are ready to separate from their parents. Classes are available for children up to age 13. There is also now an Early Childhood Program for ages 2, 3, and 4. All classes use music, dance, and other stimulating activities to teach the Spanish language.
German-American School - Franklin Square, Garden City
This school provides after-school German-language lessons that follow the public school calendar. It is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents, and programs are offered for children in grades K-10. The playgroup class for children 5 to 6 years old reviews the basics of the German language, including the alphabet and sound production. There is also singing, drawing, and crafts to reinforce learning.
Plainview Chinese Cultural Center - Plainview
Designed for both native speakers as well as second language learners with no prior experience, this program is unique in that it is taught using a bilingual format. Children and adults can learn and practice Mandarin during classes held on Saturdays. Cultural programs such as Chinese yo-yo, Chinese chess, abacus, and art are also offered. Classes are available for ages five and up.
Spanish All Year - Westbury
This school offers a 45-minute parent and child (ages 1 to 2 years old) interactive class that gives parents the tools they need to help their child pick up Spanish. Music, dancing, and games make learning fun. There is also a Spanish-immersion preschool program that teaches the language through active learning for ages 3 to 5 years old. School-aged kids can attend the weekly Spanish culture program that uses art, cooking, and literature for fun ways to learn the language. The Spanish summer program is complete Spanish immersion and is available for all ages.
Learn Spanish in a fun atmosphere at Spanish Around the World.
Spanish Around The World - Smithtown
Spanish Around The World teaches Spanish language and culture through music, art, visual learning, and play. Teaching methods emphasize inclusion and aim to enhance children’s understanding of the world. There are a range of programs for children to learn: Spanish immersion preschool program, second language program, afterschool classes, Saturday program, workshops, summer, and mini camps, and even adult/family classes and birthday parties.
Long Island French - Sayville
Instructor, Miss Karine, offers French-language classes for children all year long. Classes last an hour and include songs, games, crafts, and stories to engage little ones. Miss Karine also offers yoga classes for children.
Take a Chinese calligraphy class at Long Island Little Dragons Chinese School.
Long Island Little Dragons Chinese School Inc. - Centereach
Students are assigned to a class by their level of familiarity. Children with or without prior Chinese-language backgrounds are encouraged to attend. The program runs on Saturdays during the school year, but a week-long summer camp is also offered that includes cultural classes such as yo-yo, paper folding, calligraphy, and watercolor painting. Classes are held at Dawnwood Middle School in Centereach.
Children learn the Greek language, history, and traditional songs and dances. Classes are held on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1p.m. for children in preschool to eighth grade. A sibling tuition discount is available.
School Nova - Stony Brook
Formerly School Plus, School Nova offers Russian-, French-, and Spanish-language classes for children 6 years and older. Russian-language early childhood education classes are taught for children ages 3 to 5 years old. Classes are small and offer the opportunity for enrichment in addition to basic acquisition. Classes meet on Sundays and are held at Stony Brook University.
Thinking Italian - Melville, Great River, Setauket
The school offers classes for adults and children all year round. Taught by native-speaking teachers, the "Girotondo" program for children uses music, movement, interactive exercises, and arts and crafts to get kids immersed and learning. Classes are available for children ages 3 to 7 and 8 to 11 years old.
A version of this post was originally published in 2014 and was updated in February 2020 by Molly England.
Photos courtesy of the schools