I have been a professional educator for the past 28 years. After I completed my doctoral degree in education I wanted to set new learning goals for my life and decided that I wanted to learn to speak Spanish. To that end I have taken all of the Spanish courses at the community college, which were good, but only take you so far.
As I was searching for something new in my quest to learn Spanish I came across Casa de Español via an internet search. In short, Maria is one of the finest educators I have had the privilege to know (and I have known hundreds). Her classes employ teaching and learning techniques that exemplify the best in educational pedagogy.
Classes are small with a great deal of individual attention. Maria skillfully balances grammar instruction with conversational practice in a stress free environment that is nurturing and supportive.
Another aspect of the school that is most impressive is the way in which Maria is constantly seeking ways to improve the program to offer even more for her students. For example, she recently began trying out new conversation groups at both the beginning/intermediate and advanced levels, and offered this new service to her students at no additional cost. As for cost, $200 for this exceptional eight-week course is, in my opinion, a fantastic value.
I am so happy that I found this school and enthusiastically recommend Casa de Español to anyone looking to expand their life experiences through the learning of a new language.
I thought (Alex) was a fabulous teacher. He was energetic, patient, and extremely positive. Somehow members of the class were able to move at different paces without feeling bored (the people who moved quicker) or overwhelmed (the people who moved slower). I got exactly what I wanted out of the class, enough Spanish to feel like I can communicate at a very basic level when we go to Spain in May. I love that the class and the book and the computer programs explained differences between Spain, Peru, Mexico ... I liked the way the classes reviewed what we did before but always added new material. I liked that Alex really encouraged us to speak and communicate with each other and that we never were made to feel bad when we made mistakes. I did not use the computer programs a lot; I did use the Quizlet iphone flashcards. I preferred to review by doing the class exercises and homework, that is just the way I seem to learn best.
In the past 4 years, I have taken French, Italian and now Spanish, all at very basic levels. I found the class at Casadeespanol to be the best. It did not move so quickly that people got discouraged and dropped out and did not move so slowly that we ended at the end of the 8 weeks with the feeling that there was more to be covered.
I have taken Intermediate I and II at the Casa de Español. Although I had 'covered' the same material before, the classes really helped me to absorb, remember, and use the information. Maria offers some memory tricks, especially to recall irregular verbs, which are very useful. She is enthusiastic and the course is far from the drudgery of a text book course. I appreciate the enthusiasm that Maria and her mother bring to these small group classes.
I have a 4 year old child who attends Casa de Espanol and enjoys it. While I spoke to her in Spanish until age three, I was worried that she might drop her interest in Spanish as she grew older. There is no motivator like learning Spanish with other children. Casa de Espanol was heaven sent! Maria and her staff are very warm and kind. Maria made observations about my daughter's level of knowledge and made recommendations to meet her learning needs. I recently learned that public schools do not offer foreign language as part of the curriculum...so sad. Thank goodness for Casa de Espanol! I plan to have my daughter attend classes there for the foreseeable future:)
I agree completely with all the positive comments. So, what can I add? I am just completing Basico Uno with a new teacher, Alex. I have been going to school for 65 years and he is one of the best teachers I've ever had. He is extremely enthusiastic, knowledgeable and supportive. Fantastico! I have already signed up for Basico Dos.
We also enjoy having a glass of wine and some tapas at Tapa the World before class.
I'm finishing up my first semester with Casa De Espanol and will be continuing in the next semester. The classroom environment is very positive. Maria is a fun teacher who has thoughtfully created a program that makes learning Spanish more easily digestable for adults. I also have 4 yr old in the program and she loves it! Her teacher Gaby is fantastic at making Spanish fun and interactive through games, movement, music and art.
I am completing my third course now at Casa de Espanol (Casa) and I have no doubt about the accuracy of my rating of 5 stars. The methods used for classroom teaching and participation, coupled with the extensive set of outside resources such as workbooks, short stories, and particularly the access to Casa Virtual and Quizlet, there is much more than one could ask for to assist the student in progressing along a very well-structured and interesting path to Spanish proficiency. Like others I'm sure, I studied Spanish in high school and college many years ago, and traveled in Spanish speaking countries. I've tired Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone in an effort to gain at least some familiarity with Spanish. For me, there is no substitute for the interaction provided by Maria Harrigton (owner and primary teacher) in the classroom of Casa as she presents new segments of Spanish grammar, vocabulary and usage each week, and coordinates this with weekly practice sessions through the online, interactive resources she provides. I can't say enough about her enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to interact with both the entire class and each individual in it. She can hear a mistake instantly from someone in the room and correct it seamlessly as she conducts large and small groups in practice sessions. Small class size helps in this respect. The structure of make-up classes is a very positive aspect, although Maria provides on line materials that one can use also to make up for having to miss a particular class.
Love this place. Classes are great, small- tons of online learning options for study in between clases. Wonderful.
I don't have the words (in English or Spanish) to recommend Casa de Espanol and Maria enough. This series of courses has been an incredible experience.
1. Flexibility. This format isn't like university classes. If you miss a class you can go to another. If you struggle on a topic Maria takes extra time to make sure you really understand. There are only about 6 students in each class so you really are attended to during class and outside. She emails back quickly and can produce specialized materials if you need them. She did a whole lesson plan for me and an upcoming trip I'm doing.
2. Cost. This program is soo reasonable. For amount of one-on-one attention you get I'd imagine it would be really expensive. But it's not! It's cheaper than community college.
3. The students - Everyone wants to be there. The classes are very small and are mostly professionals or retirees. There is zero pressure and everyone is really nice. No matter your proficiency you are comfortable.
Can't say enough good things. When I come back from my trip hopefully I'll be in her advance class. Then when I have little ones I can bring them to Casa so they can learn from the time they are little. :)