Young students on the Central Coast are embracing the Spanish culture.
Through a new, outdoor immersion course in San Luis Obispo, children in kindergarten through third grade have the opportunity to learn about the culture and pick up another language at Avila Valley Barn.
Nearly a dozen students are taking part in El Jardin, a program geared toward the younger generation.
The program is already in a handful of cities across California and launched this fall in San Luis Obispo County.
Students study thematic units, Spanish vocabulary, outdoor learning, sustainability, gardening, and art - all in a Spanish immersion environment.
“The DNA of El Jardin is to incorporate Spanish immersion with gardening and art to create a program that really encompasses the culture of California,” said Megan Moreno, Director of Lanterns Global.
Many students don’t have previous Spanish experience, but it doesn't take them long to get immersed.
"I can understand almost all of it, but some words I learn everyday, which is fun," said Abraham Moreno, 6th grader.
Adding to that fun is the backdrop - a long-time staple on the Central Coast - Avila Valley Barn.
“The idea was to bring the community onto the farm," Jake Smith, Owner and Operator of Avila Valley Barn. "From the very beginning, when my mom first started building it out."
“My family and I - we’ve been coming to Avila Valley Barn for years, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world,” said Moreno.
Students attend one to three days per week and learn about sustainability, gardening, and art, with classes taught mainly in Spanish.
“What that meant for me, and to have these kids be able to come out here and do the same thing, ya know put your hands in the dirt, put your hands on the tree, grab a flower, and you get to cut it, make a bouquet, learn where your food comes from. the fact the these kids get to be a part of that is great.”
El Jardin offers a unique classroom, to help a younger generation appreciate the diversity in California.
“Hispanic heritage and the culture is so a part of our community it’s built on the Hispanic heritage,” said Smith.
Moreno added, “There’s always more to learn about it and I hope students can really appreciate it through El Jardin.”
To learn more about the program, click here.