My internship at ABCgo

Every Monday and Tuesday mornings, before I attend any lectures or take part in any class discussions, I get to go to preschool! I’m incredibly lucky to have an internship this semester at ABCgo nurseries, which is a bilingual education program for children from 0-3 years old. As an English native speaker, my job is to sing, read, and play with children so that they can become more familiar with the sounds and rhythms of the English language at such a young age!
I had no doubt in my mind that I would love ABCgo even before I had begun. On the day of my interview for the position, I was shown one of the classrooms, and a young girl immediately ran up to me and gave me a huge hug. My heart melted on the spot. After starting my time there, the kiddos immediately began to get to know me. It was incredible seeing how much English they knew even as one and two-year olds. As a Cognitive Brain Sciences and Spanish major specializing in how young children acquire language, this is not only a fun experience for me, but also an incredibly relevant experience for my future path of study!
This internship is incredibly special also because I have been able to work in a bilingual education program before in Boston, and it’s super interesting to be able to compare the different ways that both programs approach language education. I’ve found that this program in particular is very hands-on with their students. Teachers consistently involve students in dancing, stories, and play in very animated and integrative ways. Students are not passive observers, but also contributors. Rather than engaging in individual evaluative tasks, children play and work together. Even during periods of free-play, I am encouraged to speak in English with children and encourage them to repeat after me to maximize their immersive experience.
The teachers that I work with are also some of the sweetest people I’ve met in Madrid. On Tuesday, February 14th, we celebrated not only Valentine’s Day, but also Carnaval, which is basically the Spanish equivalent of Mardi Gras. I came into school that day to find that every single child was completely in costume. There was a knight in shining armor, a penguin, cookie monster, and even Captain America! It was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. The teacher of the class that I was working with was even dressed up as Princess Elsa from the movie Frozen. I was a little embarrassed because, as we don’t celebrate Carnaval in the US, I had no idea that I was supposed to wear a costume (I was literally the only one not dressed up). However, the teacher gave me a huge smile and offered me face paint and glitter so that I could join in on the fun!
Overall, my experience at ABCgo has been so incredibly enjoyable. I’ve immediately been included into the community, and I can feel the dedication and genuine care that each of the teachers have for their students. I’m incredibly glad to have this experience as well, for it helps me feel situated and more of a local in Madrid. I love coming to ABCgo each week and feeling like I have a community to which I belong.

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