If having your child learn a second language is a priority, chances are you’ve scoured the city for language-immersion schools and programs. Chiqui Social, a play-based children’s language center in Culver City’s Arts District, is a new option on the scene.
Founded by mother and native Angeleno Lizet Alvarez, Chiqui Social is a bright and warm studio space where children as young as 6 months old can start their Spanish-language-learning journeys. Alvarez saw a need for such a space when her own children became hesitant about speaking Spanish outside their home. Providing a setting for them to comfortably use the language became Alvarez’s passion project, then her business.
“Simple exposure is the start,” Alvarez says, “and for me, it was important that our space feel like a social setting, rather than a structured school setting.”
Infants, toddlers and children are exposed to Spanish at Chiqui Social the same way they learn their primary language: through sensory play, music, stories, dance, cooking and eating and hands-on themed activities. It’s an immersive space designed even for children with zero Spanish-speaking experience.
Alvarez sees Chiqui Social as a unique opportunity for local families. Parents maintain busy schedules for their kids, and now there’s a way for Spanish to be a part of that plan, too. Classes here often check two boxes. For example, an engineering-themed class at Chiqui Social builds science knowledge and Spanish vocabulary.
“The teacher narrates what they’re doing with their hands,” Alvarez says. “We teach with our bodies, we teach with visuals. The idea is that the kids are never lost, because they’re involved with the activity and their friends.”
Chiqui Social’s class offerings are listed and can be registered for online. On the first Friday of every month, groups can stop by for tacos in the backyard and games and activities inside. A number of camps are offered during summer as well.
For more information, visit chiquisocial.com.