The Starter Set 1 is for levels 1-3. It has a DVD with video lessons, workbooks, stickers, card games and flashcards, and three teacher guides – one for each level. The teacher guides include a suggested schedule as well as supplemental and hands-on activities that will help a child remember what he has learned.
The way the program works is by immersion. This is where you are placed into the middle of a situation and everyone is speaking Spanish. At first, you don’t know what is being said, but as you continue to watch you start picking up the language. In the case of this program, you watch each video multiple times and each time you and your child will pick up more of the language. It is not a grammar-based program, so if you’re wanting to learn how to write Spanish and the grammar of the language, you’ll need to supplement for that. Rather, this program’s goal is to immerse the child (and you!) in Spanish to learn it the most natural way possible. It’s almost like being an exchange student in a Spanish-speaking household!
The DVD is fantastic. There are three brothers, going on with their lives. However, it’s far from boring. There is a lot of humor in the videos and interesting story lines. Boobear especially liked the music in the videos.
We did not use the workbooks, because they were a little too difficult for Boobear just yet. I think he’s simply a little young for them. However, the workbooks would certainly help cement concepts and are done very well. There is plenty of room to write and they are bright and inviting, far from boring.
The flashcards and card games are great additions to the program and really help the child remember. Boobear loves games, so this was a great added touch.
My favorite bit are the stickers! This may sound silly, but it’s great having stickers I can stick on things that will help us all remember the Spanish word for it. For example, we can put an “El libro” sticker on a favorite book. Boobear put a “Me gusta” sticker on his box of legos, since those are something that he really likes. (It’s tempting to put one of those on the fridge, since he loves food too!) It’s very clever and I really like the idea behind the stickers.
Boobear was confused at first when we started this program. He didn’t understand why we were watching something we couldn’t understand. I explained that as we watched it he would learn more and more Spanish, and be able to understand more and more of the video. He got a real kick out of the “Rapid Review” activity at the end of the video, where he’d see an image from the story, and could say the Spanish word during the pause if he remembered. He really likes beating the clock.
Currently, he’s remembering quite a few words and even asks what things are called. It’s really sparked an interest in him, which is something I love. I can honestly say that I wish this program had been what we used when I was in school learning Spanish! I’d have remembered it a lot better.