Oct 10

Teaching Babies a Second Language

Check out this article on Futurity.com that explains how in just 1 hour per day, babies can begin learning a second language!

"Can babies be taught a second language if they don’t get foreign language exposure at home, and if so, what kind of foreign language exposure, and how much, is needed to spark that learning?"

Read the article here: Babies Can Learn Second Language in 1 Hour per Day »

[Photo Credit: I-LABS / University of Washington]

Sep 22

Celebrate 15 Years With Us!

As we near our 15-year anniversary, we have exciting news!

In 2003, Jump! Immersion School began as a bilingual school for Spanish and English, named Salta! Jump into Spanish. Jackie, our founder, had a vision to give children a truly global advantage grounded in cultural awareness, empathy, understanding. With one location in Edison, New Jersey, Salta! thrived until both the popularity of bilingual education and glowing parent reviews urged it to expand to not only one, but two franchised centers in Livingston and Scotch Plains.

However, the growth didn’t stop there!

Jackie’s vision was a global one, and set out to give her students a truly all-encompassing and versatile language immersion experience. With a team of dedicated education professionals, Salta! began offering Mandarin immersion classes and changed the name to Jump! Immersion School.  Now, Jump! offers a range of immersion classes, from Summer Camp to Preschool, from Saturday classes to After-School programs in both target languages. In all of our programs, we are fully staffed by native-speakers with a passion for teaching children Mandarin and/or Spanish, with an emphasis on differentiated learning.

Since then, we are proud to announce that we have experienced a 35% increase in growth across all centers, with over 175 students part of the Jump family. To accommodate for this growth, we have now moved our Livingston location to a larger space ready for all of our new students coming to learn with us this fall.

As we grow, we are incredibly thankful to all who have supported us.

We thank the parents for believing in our mission and trusting our system. We thank our students for coming in each day willing and ready to learn more about themselves, their peers, and the world around them. Above all, we thank our staff for putting love, hard work, and belief into our school and growing the Jump! family to what it is today.

As we go into this school year, we are excited for what the future brings us, and hope you will be with us along the way.

Jul 13

Questions to Ask on Your Bilingual School Tour

Academic language immersion? Total Physical Response? Target language allotment?

If some of these terms regarding bilingual schools are confusing for you, we understand. Touring your first bilingual school is much different than touring a monolingual school. There are certain questions about teaching style, academic environments, and teachers that are essential to ask before enrolling.

In bilingual schools, it’s all about the approach, goals, and their alignment with your goals. Different language-immersion schools have different standards, staffing, and procedures. To make sure you’re prepared for your first tour, we’ve compiled a list of 5 essential questions to ask the program director. Asking these questions will not only provide you with a deeper level of understanding of the bilingual system, but also allow you to tell which bilingual school is best for your family.

#1  How much of the target language is taught in the classroom?

This question is important because it showcases the school’s dedication to the target language. The target language allotment is essential to note so you can have a better understanding of the school’s day-to-day schedule and emphasis on language development.

At Jump! specifically, the breakdown is as follows:

  • For Preschool, the core content* is done in 100% target language immersion.
  • For our Pre-K program, the core content is done in 85% (5 hours) target language immersion.
  • For Kindergarten, the core content is done in 75% (4.5 hours) target language immersion.
  • For 1st grade the core content is done in 75% (4.5 hours) target language immersion.

(*Core content = language arts, math, circle time, calendar time, social studies, science)

#2  How are the teachers trained?

It’s equally important to ask the program director how the teachers are trained. Did they come from monolingual schools? Are they preschool-certified? What is the training process for an immersion school like? These questions are loaded, but necessary to ask because an immersion experience is a unique and specialized one.

Here at Jump!, our teachers are trained specifically with the immersion method in mind. All of our fantastic staff is trained thoroughly by the program director. Our lesson plans and curriculum are designed to accommodate for children learning both languages at once. Even more, our teachers are trained to focus on even the smallest of details when setting up their classrooms: even the most minute visual aids are expressed in the target language.

#3  Are the teachers native?

This question is most often missed because parents often assume that the teachers should simply speak the target language, and are qualified enough. However, being a native Spanish or Mandarin Chinese speaker is absolutely essential. For children to really become fluent in a language, becoming surrounded by native speakers improves pronunciation, cultural sensitivity, and provides a truer and more authentic immersion experience. For example, at Jump!, 100% of our staff are native speakers.

#4  What is the environment of your school? More of an emphasis on fun, or academics?

This is more of a general question to ask that can work for any type of school, but it’s especially important to ask of bilingual schools because each bilingual school has a different emphasis on fun and academics. Some schools are entirely academic-based and very serious in their language and academic pursuits. Others are more interested in providing the fundamentals of a target language in an academic setting. Still others, like Jump!, provide a rigorous academic setting that instills language fluency with all the essential fun.

It’s important to know what works for you and your family when asking this question, so don’t hesitate to bring it up to the program director.

#5  Tell me more about the interactions between teacher and student. Is there a language barrier?

This is a common, but necessary, question that parents should ask their program directors. The interaction between teacher and student should have one common theme: patience. Teachers in an immersion setting absolutely must be patient with their students, as open frustration and even anger will reduce the effectiveness of an immersion setting.

In most immersion settings, teachers are prompted to use Total Physical Response. This is a teaching tactic which utilizes the whole body to physically act out what the teacher is trying to demonstrate. This tactic is the visual version of context clues: “acting” out the lessons promotes a deeper sense of understanding, and thus eliminates the language barrier between teacher and student. The learning and immersion experience, using this method, is seamless.

Hopefully, these five questions will leave you feeling better prepared for when you attend your first bilingual tour! If you have any other questions, feel free to call one of our centers in Westfield, Livingston, or Edison for more information.

Hasta Luego!

Jun 29

Summer Camp Options: Full-time vs Part-time Immersion

Figure out what your child wants to do this summer... Check! Find the perfect summer camp program... Check! Enroll, sit back, and relax... Well, not so fast.

If you’ve decided to enroll in one of the Jump! all-immersion summer camp programs, you might have a few more questions before your child starts with us. Usually, one question sticks out in parents' minds the loudest:

"If I’ve chosen an immersion program, do I need to do full-time?
How do I decide?"

Financial differences and scheduling aside, full-time and part-time immersion actually have very different outcomes. Language immersion is a commitment on both ends. For us, we commit to providing the best instruction and nurturing environment possible for your child to reach the highest level of fluency possible within the 8-week time frame. For you, we simply need a consistent, focused presence.

So, when contemplating full-time or part-time immersion, consider the following points from Jump! instructors and that full-time and part-time immersion have different language fluency goals.

  • Full-time Immersion

For full-time immersion, language fluency is heightened and developed consistently for the eight weeks. Confidence in speaking the target language will emerge and you will see that your child will be able to speak in basic full sentences. The more your child goes, the more your child knows!

  • Part-time Immersion

For part-time immersion the goals are different. For example, children in our summer program for 2 days a week, for five weeks, the mission is to learn the fundamentals of the target language. This includes basic vocabulary along with basic conversational ability. Your child will emerge more confident in the target language, but limited to more simple and direct phrases.

Of course, all learning ability depends on age, previous experience, enthusiasm to learn, and willingness to speak. But generally, part-time and full-time immersion have different outcomes. If you are interested in exposing your child to an environment in which fluency is essential, then we strongly recommend the full-time enrollment for the full 8 weeks, if possible. However, if your goals are more flexible and you want your child to learn the fundamentals of the target language, part-time immersion can be a good choice. However, we believe that for any endeavor to learn a new language, especially a complex language like Mandarin, full-time enrollment will be much more beneficial.

The more they go, the more they'll know.

We hope this helps you decide the goals you and your child want to achieve from Jump! this summer. Whether it be exposure to a target language or a more intensive language immersion experience, Jump! is always here to answer any additional questions you may have.

Feel free to call any one of our centers in Westfield, Livingston, or Edison to ask us more about this.

We can’t wait to see you this summer!

Read more on our blog about summer camp:

Jun 09

How to Prevent Summer Break From Pausing Language Growth

The final bell rings. Your child tosses away all of their papers, stashes their backpack somewhere deep in their closets, and leaps into a summer, free of homework and classrooms. However fun this may be, it has been proven time and time again that not revisiting any of that old homework sets you back both mentally and academically.

In fact, summer learning loss is a common issue that parents encounter over the summer with their children. If there is no reinforcement, children can lose several months worth of academics and start the school year on a setback. For language-learning specifically, this is even easier to forget since language classes don’t make up the majority of the academic experience.

To maintain your child’s language growth and retain the lessons they’ve learned either in school or after-school, we have compiled 5 ways to reinforce their learning and even advance them over the summer break.

Set Aside Time Intervals for Speaking

At Jump!, we believe conversation and exposure are key. If your child has been learning Spanish all year in a classroom and you want them to continue over the summer, try having them watch their favorite TV show -- but with subtitles in the target language. Or, if you’re going on a long road trip, play some music in the target language to get them moving. These little integrations are key in sustaining language development.

Even more so, setting aside designated “language time” is incredibly helpful for preventing a summer slide in learning. Integrate these into weekly, or even daily “meetings” where you go through flashcards, watch a movie, or even have full conversations (if you speak the target language). We believe that the more exposure, the better.

Grammar Exercises

We know, we hear the universal groan, too. However, grammar exercises are essential when learning a new language, and when coupled with having actual conversations, can be extremely powerful.

If you or a member in your family speaks the target language, conversation is key in learning grammar. The more you do it, the more you learn. If you don’t speak the target language, try working through flashcards with your child, offering fun rewards for getting the right verb conjugation. It can be tedious, but essential for learning any new language

Use Fun and Games

Now, it’s easier than ever to make learning digital. If you have an iPad, tablet, or laptop, you can use games online to help them learn. There are a plethora of learning apps like FluentU that are fantastic for learning Mandarin and Spanish. (Read this post for more iPad apps great for learning Spanish.)

This is a sure-fire way to get your child excited to learn more of the target language -- what could be more fun than playing with an iPad?

Improve Reading Comprehension

If your child is more drawn to books than tablets, consider buying books in the target language that they can try to read. We realize this is more challenging and can be frustrating for many children, but working through even one page a day is helpful for developing a more robust vocabulary and a deeper ability for reading comprehension.

Enroll in a Summer Camp

If the time in your schedule doesn’t allow for any of these tips, or you don’t know enough of the target language to help your more advanced child, we recommend enrolling in some sort of summer program that encourages language immersion.

Here at Jump!, we understand how summer can set children back by months if they don't maintain the skills they've learned during the school year. This is why we created our Summer Camp and Saturday programs. As a full-time (or even part-time) student in a summer camp, your child’s skills are sure to be reinforced and enhanced as the summer continues, leaving them to be very well-prepared for the school year.

We hope these tips helped you decide on an action plan for this summer, and how to maintain your child’s language skills! If you have any questions on language development, or want to inquire about our summer camp program, feel free to call any of our centers in Livingston, Edison, or Westfield.

Jun 09

5 Benefits You’ll See After a Summer at Jump!

Congratulations! If you’ve enrolled in Jump! Summer Camp, we are incredibly excited to meet you and your family soon. Get ready for a summer of fun, friendships, academics, and above all: learning a new language!

As you start preparing for our first day, we would like to share with you the 5 core benefits that you will see in your child as a result of enrolling them in our program. These benefits have been universal among all our students, and we can’t wait to give them to you and your family next.

#1  They will come out of their shell and be more confident

First and foremost, children that come from the Jump! summer program are incredibly confident and comfortable in their own skin. Shyness is expected at first when entering an all-immersive experience, and some children may be afraid and/to self-conscious to speak a new language.

However, by the end of the program children are excited to speak a new language. Students speak to each other in the target language and their teachers with confidence and ease. In our no-pressure, nurturing environment, we make sure that every child has the capability to reach this level of security. Even more, children are academically confident as well as linguistically. When they enter the school year, they will be extremely well-prepared and refreshed at the same time!

#2  They will establish a beginning foundation in their target language of Spanish or Mandarin

Perhaps the most visible benefit you will see after a summer at Jump! is the onset of conversational fluency in the target language. You will quickly begin to hear your child singing songs, articulate basic sentences with their teachers and develop a love of utilizing their new language skills any chance they get.

What could be more exciting?

#3  They will be excited about learning new languages

When our students reach a level of proficiency that they can understand the target language with ease, it generates a level of pride that can’t be beat. Learning a new language in a safe, loving environment gets them excited because it means they can talk to their teachers, friends, and family! This love of learning is fostered at the onset -- the more they learn, the more they’ll love it.

#4  They will have higher cultural awareness, sensitivity, and appreciation

Our program instills a sense of curiosity towards the world around us, and cultivates a sense of appreciation for other cultures. By learning about Latin American customs, children see the beauty in other traditions and foster a genuine, self-generated interest in learning other languages and the culture behind them.

With summer activities ranging from dance instruction to playing traditional music, and even cooking traditional dishes, your child is exposed to the Latin American culture through an all-native staff that places an emphasis on creating an all-immersive world for its students.

#5  They will enter the school year prepared, more knowledgeable, and enthusiastic

The long term benefit you’ll see is one of the most important: students that come from our summer camp don’t experience summer learning loss, and they enter the school year even more advanced than when they left, both academically and linguistically. Our summer camp strengthens their academic skills, creates a sense of enthusiasm, and puts them years ahead of their language classes. What could be better?

We hope you and your family are as excited as we are to kick off the Jump! Summer Camp program. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call any one of our centers in Westfield, Edison, or Livingston.

See you soon!

Read more on our blog about summer camp:

Jun 05

The 3 Great iPad Apps for Spanish

Rainy day? Long car ride? If you’re looking for something to entertain your child for a few minutes (or hours) why not set them up with an app that will let them have fun and learn a new language?

Digital apps can be useful for turning language-learning into a game that children actually want to play. We’ve compiled the 3 best Spanish-learning apps for the iPad, including the most kid-friendly and the most comprehensive in terms of grammar, speaking, and reading comprehension.

Endless Spanish (by Originator)  |  Price: Free for intro levels (price varies to add more)

A parent-favorite, Endless Spanish takes our #1 spot for a multitude of reasons. First, this app is designed for children learning Spanish and is complete with creative graphics that are designed to create enthusiasm for learning Spanish.

Second, you complete interactive puzzles and sentence structures that are inherently designed to increase reading comprehension at any skill level. The puzzles literally come to life to teach vocabulary visually as well -- for example the word “flor” actually blooms!

Third, Endless Spanish comes in two modes: “Spanish Immersion” and “Spanish with English Translation” so that you can choose the appropriate skill level.

The best part is, this app was designed specifically for children being introduced to the language. There are no competitions, scores, or charts keeping track of progress. Simply play and learn!

Duolingo  |  Price: Free

Duolingo is up next, and is a fantastic app for learning Spanish. It has an extremely high rating, and is a student and teacher favorite. The app is split into themes (work, fun, education, etc.) with adjustable levels of difficulty.

Duolingo incorporates a multitude of learning methods: repeating aloud into the microphone to practice speaking and pronunciation; multiple choice response to questions asked by characters in the app; and matching pictures to words.

Duolingo is not grammar intensive, however, and relies mostly on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking/listening settings to teach Spanish to its users. At Jump!, since we understand the value of immersion and its role on language development, we highly suggest using an app like Duolingo in addition to learning grammar rules to really become proficient.

MindSnacks  |  Price: $4.99

MindSnacks is a fantastic app that works well on its own or as a supplementary app to others. Like Endless Spanish, MindSnacks was designed with children in mind. Here, the app combines learning with games, and makes the entire experience something fun to look forward to. For example, the homepage has different sections/themes that you can play with, such as School or Food. With graphics designed for entertaining younger children, players can race to choose the correct vocabulary word, play with sentence structure, and substitute correct Spanish answers. This app accomplishes fun while combining vocabulary and reading comprehension, but slightly in less depth than Duolingo or Endless Spanish.

We hope that the next time your child wants to play online, you download one of these three apps for learning Spanish. Feel free to tell us on our Facebook page how you liked it, and share your experience!

Read related articles on Jump! Blog:

Jun 02

Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in Summer Camp

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the rush to the finish line to secure a spot in the right summer camp for your child this summer? With the ring of the final bell nearly sounding, it’s quite possible that you’re getting nervous about where your child will spend their summer.

As we mentioned in a previous post, there are five key aspects about summer camp that you should think about before you enroll. If you have already narrowed down your search and are about to secure your spot, that makes asking the questions much easier -- you just have to make sure to ask the right ones. Since our enrollment period is almost over, we’ll break it down for you so that you can enroll feeling prepared, relaxed, and ready for your child to start their summer.

Who are the teachers? What is their approach?

Asking about the staff is the first question you should ask when about to enroll. Each teacher has their own specific style and each camp has its own distinct personality. If you know your child works better with patient teachers, make sure to ask about the general temperament of the teachers in the program. If your child requires more of a firm hand, make sure the program director knows this and how to work through it.

An good way to ascertain whether the staff and directors are a true fit for you, is to gauge their willingness to listen and cooperation. If they offer to meet your child first, have your child interact with the teachers, or even offer a differentiated learning method, that’s a good sign that you’re ready to enroll.

What is the student to faculty ratio?

This is a very important aspect to understanding the staff and their role in the prospective summer camp. Generally, the best and most sought-after programs will have a low student-faculty ratio. The ACA (American Camp Association) recommends a student to faculty ratio of 1:8 for children aged 6 to 8 years old, and 1:10 for children aged 9 to 14 for day camps. However, this is only the standard recommendation, and you should bring up any concerns with the ratio of campers to counselors you have.

What is the return rate for your camp?

This is another important question because it shows how well-received the camp is, by campers and parents alike. Generally, a return rate of 50% or above is a favorable percentage. If the rate falls lower, you may want to ask why. Sometimes, a low return rate is simply because more students are in a graduating class. However, a low return rate may signal that there is an issue with the camp itself. Either way, it’s useful to ask.

What is a sample daily schedule for your camp?

If you’re on the fence about the content and rigor of the program, consider asking the program director for a sample schedule. This way, you can consider it along with your child to see if it would be a good fit. If it seems too slow-paced, but the program still seems in-line with what you’re looking for, consider asking the program director if any flexibility can be allowed for a more advanced learner.

What are your camp’s safety procedures?

Lastly, it is essential to ask about the camp’s safety procedures. Be sure to provide any emergency details, contacts, and information necessary for your child. If your child has specific needs, make sure to talk to the program director about this and formulate an appropriate solution.

We hope that these questions are helpful in your finalization of choosing a summer camp. If you are considering enrolling your child at Jump! Summer Camp, we would be happy to schedule a private tour and answer any of your questions.

We hope to see you soon!

May 17

What Can I Expect from Jump! Summer Camp?

Bienvenidos! If you’re a parent who just enrolled your child in Jump! Summer Camp, you might have several questions... What will the camp be like? Will my child become fluent by the end? What if I my child is shy, even when speaking in English?

We understand that enrolling your child in summer camp can be a daunting experience, especially if you have never had an experience with a bilingual school. We’re here to make sure you feel safe, secure, and excited for your summer with us. So, here’s a detailed outline of what exactly to expect this summer.

The teachers will speak completely in Spanish

Yes, your child’s instructors -- whether it be the visiting Zumba instructor, main teacher, volunteer, or sports coach -- will all be native Spanish speakers that will only speak English when absolutely necessary. All lessons, interactions, and outdoor play will be in Spanish so that your child receives a full and well-rounded immersion experience.

They will speak to each other completely in Spanish

Another part of the immersion process is that your child will interact with his/her friends entirely in Spanish as well. To the best of their respective abilities, students are encouraged to speak to each other with ice-breaker activities and play-time hours. To facilitate this, students are placed with other students within a similar skill-level so that speaking won’t be intimidating.

If you have a child that is shy when speaking Spanish, or self-conscious, our teachers will work one-on-one with them to gradually ease them into the process. Our instructors are very sensitive to your children’s needs, limits, and potential -- each child’s feelings are taken into consideration to minimize the frustration of misunderstandings.

The more they go, the more they know

Of course, the more your child is exposed to an immersion setting, the more they will learn the target language. Since Jump’s summer camp mission is fluid conversational Spanish, the more exposure to these conversations, the better they will be able to both speak and comprehend. Additionally, since our teachers are native Spanish speakers, a more natural accent will be much easier for your child to absorb in an immersive setting.

They will become conversational, even at the beginner level.

All the students that enroll in our summer camp become excellent at conversational Spanish. Whether your child is beginning, intermediate, or advanced, Jump’s summer camp offers a dynamic and student-tailored immersion process that allows each child to reach their full potential in conversational Spanish. For more advanced speakers, our instructors are more than willing to provide more challenging work and offer opportunities to refine their skills.

They will learn a blend of academic work spanning science, vocabulary-building activities, theatre, dancing, and even cooking

Jump’s summer camp is all-encompassing. Not only do the students have fun, but they learn a wide array of academic subjects. Our instructors are diligently trained to teach children who are just learning Spanish academic subjects in a way that is not only comprehensible, but thorough. This way, your child not only brushes up on academics during the summer, but learns a new language as well.

They will have access to an unparalleled cultural education to foster a connection with a diverse range of Spanish-speaking countries

In addition to receiving an academic education, your child will receive an extensive cultural education to promote cultural awareness, sensitivity, and appreciation. Since our mission is to provide our students with a global advantage, we firmly believe that this begins with a cultural education that spans a diverse range of countries. Here, your child will learn about dances, foods, holidays, and social norms across Spanish-speaking countries and foster a genuine appreciation for the Latin culture.

They will have lots of summer fun!

In addition to academics, cultural awareness, and immersion, we absolutely guarantee that your child will have their most fun summer yet here at Jump! From water play to theatre productions, to outdoor sports, and our annual visit from The Lizard Guy, Jump’s summer fun is endless. They will make new friends, learn from incredibly warm and caring teachers, and most of all, learn a new language!

If you have any more questions regarding Jump’s summer camp, please don’t hesitate to call your center and ask.

We can’t wait to see you in June -- hasta luego!

Read more on our blog about summer camp:

May 11

Choosing the Right Summer Camp:
Fun, Education, or Both?

Summer is finally approaching the corner -- and that means school’s almost out! Your children may be ecstatic, but you might be experiencing stress over your child’s summer plans.

The beginning of May is around the time when parents start searching for the perfect summer camp for their child. Your child might want to go to a fun sleep-away camp in the Adirondacks, but you want them to sustain the education they have learned during the school year. Are the two mutually exclusive?

Often, parents ask us about the balance of fun and education in our summer camp and we have lots to say about it. For us, the perfect summer camp is a seamless blend of academic support and enjoying the brief summer months. To help you navigate the search for your child’s upcoming summer camp, here are our tips on how to find the perfect fit.

1. Consider the program’s focus and educational component (if any)

What kind of academic goals are you and your child looking to receive from a summer camp? Are you looking for an academic boot-camp, or simply have education as a supporting role? It is very important to figure out your own standards and match them with the program’s mission. Most camps offer various activities -- from work sessions, to camping, to dancing. Be sure you choose the camp with the most activities that are aligned with you and your child’s personal focus.

2. Go in for a Private Tour

Once you have narrowed down your options to a short list, schedule a private tour! The best way to get a feel of the camp’s attitude and focus is by seeing it up-close. Ask your tour-guide to introduce you to some of the summer instructors, and ask as many questions as possible.

3. Ask the Right Questions

If you are on a private tour, or simply corresponding with the camp director, be sure to ask about:

  • Staffing
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Return rate
  • Sample daily schedule
  • Safety procedures

4. Most of all, include your child in the process of choosing

It is very important to make sure your child feels comfortable in the camp that you ultimately enroll in. Include your child on the private tour, and allow them to ask questions as well!

We hope that these tips are helpful in your search for a summer camp. If you are considering enrolling your child in Jump!, we would be happy to schedule a private tour in the coming weeks.

We hope to see you soon!

Read more on our blog about summer camp:
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