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 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!

Jul 31

How to Make a Fortune Teller

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

In the spirit of summer, Jump! Immersion is changing the focus of the blog to give families some ideas for hands-on activities and conversation starters. We hope the ideas are lighthearted and fun!

For the Dreamer: A Paper “Fortune Teller"

Do you remember these? A home-made paper trinket to pass away the time? 

In Spanish, begin the conversation identifying this contraption with Comecocos de Papel (a Pacman of Paper) or even a Sacapiojos (Lice Remover!). Also known in English as Cootie-Catchers, Chatterbox or Fortune Teller, while the name changes, the thoughts behind it are the same: creativity, socialization and distraction. This activity is highly adaptable for preschoolers (use colors and stickers to make it appropriate for them) up to lower elementary students. 

Creating the project requires folding, and playing the game requires hand & finger movement as well as fine motor skills. In a nutshell, you fold a piece of paper into four triangle-type shapes. The “toy” will fit over your thumb, index and middle finger so you can “open” and “close” it. Your friend will answer a series of questions to get an answer… or a prediction. Younger children can begin by picking a color as well, and use the syllables.

Supplies Needed

  • Paper
  • Writing/Drawing materials
  • Imagination!

Folding Instructions

Scroll to the bottom of this site. This appears to be a neat website, with lots of information. There are also a few pre-printed ones and videos of how to fold in Spanish or in English on YouTube.

If you prefer pictorial instructions, try this site

Playing the Game

This is a good language activity and can be adapted in many ways. Answer a question, do an action, describe the person answering the questions, favorite food, etc.

Ground rules: make sure the person asking the questions knows how to ask a question in the language, such as “Which one?” or “Choose one.”

In Spanish, you can say “Cual quieres?” or “Escoje uno”

One can either break up the word into syllables to “open” and “close” the opening, or a complete sentence can be used for greater vocabulary. For example, Red versus The color is red.”  You can even spell the word (like R-E-D). It all depends on the age and language level of the players.

Check out this page which has some great ideas for writing some “vague” Spanish fortunes, such as “something exciting awaits you in your immediate future.” Sounds good for tweens. I want to explore this site further. (Do not be put off by the name of the website as I was, momentarily; it describes the “hyphenated” bicultural child, of Latin-American of Hispanic origin being raised in an English-speaking environment. Peruse and judge for yourself.)

My children have used the “fortune tellers” in the car, waiting in line at the grocery store, outside on the lawn or inside the house in a reading nook on a rainy day. I remember letting my imagination run wild... with boys I would marry or adventures that I would go on or misfortunes that might befall me.

All you need is paper, writing/drawing materials and your imagination…

...One, two, three, four you will enjoy a tropical vacation on your private island soon …

Jul 22

How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

In the spirit of summer, Jump! Immersion is changing the focus of the blog to give families some ideas for hands-on activities and conversation starters. We hope the ideas are lighthearted and fun!

For the Artist: Bracelets made of Thread

I have friends from Colombia and Costa Rica that have given these away as token gifts upon their return from their country of origin. This is an activity that can be done inside or outside the house while taking a break. Children that are into creating things and/or expressing themselves love these projects. Suitable for both boys and girls, starting with elementary-aged children (for longer attention spans, as a general guideline).

Before you conclude that this is “just” Latin American-inspired, did you know that there are some similar knots/decorations in China and Japan? See the decorative knots of China, (Chinese: 中國結; pinyin: Zhōngguó jié) and the Japanese “Kumihino” braiding that coincidentally use a circle loom.

To start the friendship bracelets, I went to the local craft store to get some pink/purple yarn or embroidery string for one of my children and some green/gray ones for the other child that is obsessed with Minecraft. Do not feel obligated to buy a “kit” from the local craft store or toy store unless you want/need that peace of mind; the supplies are minimal.

Supplies Needed

Your supply list for the first simple thread bracelet:

  • Small piece of cardboard
  • A round object
    such as a drinking glass to use the rim as a guide to make a circle
  • Pencil
  • Button
    A “cool” button to use to secure the bracelet
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery String
    4 colors, at least 25 inches long

Click Here for one great “goof-proof” video tutorial (even I understood it!:-)

Caveat: Parents, you may want to watch any opening YouTube advertisement videos or side ads before your child watches to determine your comfort level with ad content. You can also search for other DIY Bracelet videos; you will be spoiled for choice.

With that said, the instructions are clear, the video is upbeat and engaging for children/tweens and I can’t help but feel chipper with the blogger.

Just as the “Rainbow Loom” craze of two years ago (which still lives on), children will love to make these for family and friends who will wear them with pride! An ecologically sound gift—hand crafted and made with love. At least, that is our theme in our home—“made with love.” Priceless.

Video/Photo Credit: DIY Friendship Bracelets. 5 Easy DIY Bracelet Projects! by SaraBeautyCorner