At Spanish Playground, we are dedicated to supporting parents as they help their children learn Spanish. I am so happy to share a resource that is going to make that journey easier for many families. PandaTree offers online foreign language tutoring for kids, and they do it very well.
Disclosure: PandaTree sent me a promo code to try their tutoring sessions and compensated me for writing the review. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.
Teaching children Spanish is a challenge. Families are motivated and committed, but the fact is they face real obstacles. It is difficult to consistently provide children with enough quality exposure to the language. I would have given anything for PandaTree when my children were young!
With PandaTree, kids talk to native-speaker tutors using online video. It is communicative instruction – children learn language by interacting. The tutors have pictures and objects to support the content. Most important, they are excellent teachers who follow a child’s lead to make the most of the interactions.
PandaTree is offering Spanish Playground readers a free 25 minute session.
Use the promo code SpanishPlayground.
This offer does not expire!
The Challenges and How PandaTree Can Help
Access to Native Speakers
Although there are many Spanish speakers in the US, English is the majority language. Even in areas with native speakers, it is not easy to create supportive situations for Spanish learners. With PandaTree, kids get one-on-one interaction with a caring, fun native-speaker.
Families are busy. Especially as kids get older, it is hard to find time to dedicate to Spanish. Kids have PandaTree lessons from home when it fits your schedule. There is no transportation time for kids or waiting time for parents.
How to Teach
Although children learn language easily, it is not magic. Kids need to be engaged with the language and they need support. Even native speakers committed to passing on their language struggle with how to do it effectively. PandaTree tutors know how to create an meaningful language learning interaction.
Many families encounter moments when kids don’t want to speak Spanish or continue with Spanish classes. These stages happen for different reasons, but regardless of the cause, PandaTree is a lifesaver. The video sessions give kids a safe place to speak Spanish. The sessions are fun and low-pressure. Also, having tutors that kids actually want to talk to is very motivating.
Outstanding Features of PandaTree
You can read all about PandaTree on their website. The Frequently Asked Questions page is excellent, with complete information about all aspects of the program.
These are a few of the features that most impressed me:
- The quality of the tutors. They are native-fluency speakers now based in North America. They are hired only after successfully completing test sessions with real kids and carefully vetted.
- Focus on speaking skills. PandaTree is not about teaching grammar. Children will learn Spanish if they are given correct models and the opportunity to speak the language. That is exactly what PandaTree does.
- Shared content. Through the miracle of technology, tutors and kids can play games and interact with the same pictures and text.
- 25 or 50 minute sessions. 25 minutes is perfect for young language learners!
- Parents can watch recorded sessions, and PandaTree provides a list of new vocabulary that your child is learning.
- Flexibility. You can pay for one session at a time with no-long term commitment. There are discounts for buying multiple sessions in advance.
PandaTree gave me promo codes so that my students could try a session before I wrote this review. These comments are based combined from different families:
- The tutor was very high energy. She kept our daughter engaged.
- She had lots of visuals – pictures on the screen and paper cut-outs.
- Overall I thought she was great – very enthusiastic and patient, used a lot of visuals.
- They played games. The tutor would circle animals on the screen and our child would say what it was. In another game with pictures, the tutor would take away a picture and our child would say what was missing. If she couldn’t remember, the tutor gave hints by describing it.
- The tutor adapted her vocabulary to include what our child knows. Our child used a different word for boat, and after that the tutor used both words in conversation.
- The tutor followed our child’s lead and took appropriate tangents to engage her.
- I thought it was very good.
- I will definitely try it again.
- It was very good. I would expect it to get better each time – that they would develop a relationship and build on that.
- She loved it!
Learning a language takes time. Giving children a second language takes time and commitment. Success depends on embracing the process, having fun, and leveraging the available resources. PandaTree makes all that much easier.