Pre-K Spanish

Caperucita Roja (Little Red Riding Hood) Part I

This class is directed to 3/4-year olds, who already had a 2-month course with me.
As such, they are comfortable with most of the vocabulary, with action commands, and with the format of my classes in general.
The uniting theme of the class, is the tale of Little Red Riding Hood ("Caperucita Roja") and The Wolf ("el lobo").
"El Lobo" is also used to introduce a very popular child's play in Spanish-speaking countries.

The class starts with the usual ritual of "flying" elsewhere, to Spain, i.e., to a place where Spanish is spoken.
This does wonders in seamlessly setting the mindsets of the children into communicating using another language.
Afterwards, our salutations. "¿Cómo estás?" (how are you?). As classes advance, I gradually introduce new states of mind; originally it was only " estoy bien" (I am OK), and "mal" (I feel badly), now I add "estoy enfermo", ("I am ill"), which will be relevant because Red Riding Hood's grandmother is ill later in the story.

To burn some energy and keep a hold on their attention, we go over some movement commands, "camina, corre, para, siéntate"=walk, run, stop, sit; "revuelve la sopa/prueba la sopa"=stir/taste the soup, and again introducing "estoy enfermo"=I am ill.

The characters of Caperucita and the abuelita (her grandmother) are presented.
Children are asked where they live, and they answer naturally.
Once we establish that abuelita is sick and that she also lives in a house, one of the children is asked to impersonate the wolf.
The storyline is not linear, I keep presenting images and elements of it. Caperucita wanders by the woods and gathers flowers (the children know their colors already). Caperucita walks slowly, el lobo runs fast.
El lobo is asked to knock on abuelita's door ...

... and, as it was already suggested, the abuelita runs to hide inside the cupboard.

Done with the Caperucita story, for that particular class, I proceed to show the children a very traditional game in all Spanish-speaking countries.

One of the children portrays "el lobo" (the wolf), and he stays apart, putting on one piece of clothing (real or imaginary) at a time.

The rest make a round, singing "Juguemos en el bosque, mientras el lobo no está"=Let's play in the woods, while the wolf is not here.
After each piece of clothing ("chaqueta, bufanda, guantes, gorra"=jacket, scarf, gloves, cap), the round asks "Lobo, ¿estás?"=Wolf, are you there?
And the wolf responds, "No, me estoy poniendo la chaqueta / los guantes, etc".=No, I am still putting on the jacket/gloves, etc.

The suspense keeps building. After a last "Lobo ¿estás?", the wolf runs and chases another child, who then becomes the new "lobo", and the game starts over.

Children of this age do not fully grasp the concept of a "social" game yet, this experience has to be perceived as an aggregation of individual, "parallel games". That is why the involvement of the parents is essential (in order to keep the round cohesive, in order to reassure the children that there is nothing wrong with being the wolf, or to be captured by one, etc).

Each child has the chance to be the lobo, if he or she so desires ...
... and they play, scream, stumble and fall, bounce back, like children do.

¡Juguemos! (=Let's play!); "¡Corre, corre!" (=Run, run!)
They are not thinking about any of it, they are just children playing!

After the farewell song, we "take the plane back" to their native language.



Caperucita Roja, part II

This is the fragment of the following class, which continues the story of Caperucita.

At the initial section where we describe moods, we had introduced "tengo miedo" (=I am scared); and also reviewed movement verbs: "corre, camina" (=run, walk), that later will be linked to the story.
We repeat the flower picking section, in order to review the basic colors in a fluid, natural way.

Again a child volunteers as the wolf. In the story, the lobo meets and greets Caperucita, and then outruns her on the way to abuelita's house, because "Caperucita camina lento" (slowly) but el lobo corre rápido (quickly).
El lobo meets la abuela, la abuela hides in the closet, and el lobo disguises himself as the abuela (a night gown and cap, "camisón", wore by this extraordinarily cooperative student).

The traditional exchange between el lobo and Caperucita ensues:
- Abuelita, ¡qué ojos grandes tienes! (=what big eyes you have).
- Para verte mejor. (=to better see you).
- Abuelita, ¡qué orejas grandes tienes! (=what big ears you have).
- Para oírte mejor. (=to better hear you).
- Abuelita, ¡qué dientes grandes tienes! (=what big teeth you have).
- ¡ Para comerte mejor! (=to better eat you).

El lobo chases Caperucita, who joins the abuela in hiding inside the closet.

It is remarkable how, at the beginning of this activity, only one student volunteered to be the wolf. As they gain more confidence, all the students compete to volunteer!