Courtesy of LinguaLab
LONG ISLAND CITY — Two local parents and educators are opening their own “immersive” language school for young people this fall, after efforts to bring a bilingual French program to a neighborhood public school have so far proven unsuccessful.
LinguaLab will open on September 11 at 11-11 44th Road, offering enrichment programs in French, Russian and Spanish for infants, toddlers and children up to 11 years old. The school will offer classes that teach the language through movement, music, dance, art and other interactive activities.
“Living in our world, speaking more than one language and understanding different cultures – that’s a gift,” said LinguaLab co-founder Madelia Bergeroo. “It’s a long process to learn another language. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be.”
Bergeroo, a certified language teacher and parent who lives in Astoria, will teach many courses at LinguaLab. She has worked as an instructor for the past two years with La Caravane FrancoFun, a French immersion program that rents out classrooms in the Queens Paideia School building in Court Square.
She founded LinguaLab alongside Nodra
Isamiddinova, another parent and local translator, and the team includes six other instructors, including two professional dancers who will teach “creative movement” classes in Spanish and Russian.
The fall semester will include more than 20 beginner and advanced classes, each accommodating between eight and 12 children, organized according to children’s ages and language skills.
Options include an 80-minute “French Learners” course for ages 3-5 that lasts 12 weeks at a cost of $360; “baby and me” classes in Russian that cost $25 for each 45-minute session; and one-hour extracurricular Spanish classes for $432 for 12 weeks.
The two Bergeroos are Isamiddinova raising bilingual and multilingual children themselves, and say their classes fill a void in language education in western Queens. Public schools in District 30 currently offer only bilingual programs in Spanish, but none in French or Russian, according to the city’s kindergarten directory for the 2017-2018 school year.
“The solution is to go to Manhattan or Greenpoint, or far away,” said Bergeroo, who is sending her own son to a school in Brooklyn this fall because she has a French curriculum.
The couple eventually hope to expand their offerings at LinguaLab, including adding adult classes down the road for the school to serve as “more of a community center”.
“That’s the idea — to bring different languages to the community of Long Island City and Astoria,” Bergeroo said.
LinguaLab will be offering demo classes later this month. For more information and the complete fall semester schedule, visit the school’s website.