Why choose to learn Russian? Russia is the largest country in the world and Russian is one of the world's most commonly spoken languages, and is the lingua franca for nearly all of the former Soviet Union. It is estimated that about 260 million people speak Russian. Believe it or not, it's the most spoken language in Europe. It’s a popular 2nd language for much of Eastern Europe. Russian is a somewhat difficult language that isn't as commonly taught in schools, but nowadays such languages tend to be more valuable than others.
Russia has a fascinating culture - matreshkas (nesting dolls), balalaika, piroshki, blini (crepes), world famous ballet, Maslenitsa celebration, etc. - our kids get familiar with all of that. Knowledge of Russian allows access to great works of literature, films, and songs in the original language. Russian is also an analytical language that organizes cognition and fosters critical thinking, which is useful in talks and negotiations.
Our curriculum includes Russian Language study. Our curriculum in Russian has been developed by us at Sunflower, and is based on the ELM (Early Learning Matters) curriculum, which is in English. We have lots of precious literature rich materials in Russian. We adapt our Russian language program, so our children, based on need, get their instruction predominantly in Russian, or 50-50, so our native English speakers are comfortable and do not miss on their learning of more difficult concepts.
We use numerous bilingual tools, colorful visual aids, and hands-on projects that invite children from English only backgrounds to participate successfully in the learning community and routines of the day. By engaging the child and encouraging him/her to express oneself in the 2nd language throughout the day, they build natural connections between real-life and language concepts.
Our children from English-only speaking families do really well learning Russian when they come to us young - to our infant room and to toddlers’ group. The younger the child is the more absorbent his/her mind is and both languages are acquired much faster and easier versus when a child is in preschool.