ISSUE #19 | THE PIE REVIEW | 11
According to Goulding, ILSC has designed its current
family camp programming based on their junior camp
format, combining language learning and activities with
accommodation packages. “While children study with
other international students in the same age group, parents
join the adult student classes at the ILSC campus. Families
come together from their respective language learning
classes three times a week and participate in a combination
of sightseeing and sporting and cultural activities,” he says.
Other language schools have also created family pro-grams
as an extension of their pre-existing language classes
for younger students. Vanessa Palmieri, director of marke-ting
at ELC in the US, confirms that they too have seen an
uptick in demand for family programs. Children accompa-nied
by their parents join other students studying English in
ELC’s junior program, which is open to kids aged 11-17.
Another provider operating in the ESL sphere is St Giles
International, which started its first family course in London
in 2013 and has subsequently expanded family programs to
locations in Brighton, New York, and San Francisco. Accor-ding
to group sales and marketing director, Hannah Lind-say,
their family programs attract students from Europe, the
Middle East, Russia, Asia and Latin America.
Boutique language schools, such as the one attended by
Jaden Jones, don’t always organise formal programs but
instead offer customised packages of group and private
lessons to interested families. Piccola Università Italiana
in Italy, for example, has been teaching Italian to families
from around the world at its two locations in Tropea and
Trieste for 25 years.
According to marketing director Simone Rainer, they
don’t have a fixed start date for family programs. Instead,
Piccola’s family programs are all individual bookings that
allow maximum flexibility, she says.
Other providers offer families a variety of languages to
choose from. Minnesota-based Concordia Language Villa-ges,
one of the largest operators in the US, currently offers
one-week residential immersion programs for families in
Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Portuguese, Russian,
and Spanish, along with special focus programs on Swit-zerland
and the Nordic countries. Based on the popularity
of short courses offered over holiday weekends, they laun-ched
their first family language camps in summer 2005.
Senior group director Martin Graefe says Concordia’s
family programs have grown from 60 participants in 2005
to more than 500 in 2018, and families now account for
around 10 per cent of all summer camp participants.
While the majority of participants come from Minnesota
and neighboring states, they have welcomed families from
over 40 states, as well as a few from abroad. This is a pro-gram
with a twist – total immersion, but without travelling
to a foreign country.
The most popular programs are French, German, and
Spanish, and Graefe has noticed an increased interest
in Chinese in the last few years. Children in the family
program are aged from four to 12, with around one-third
aged between seven and nine.
The programs also serve as a recruitment tool for
Concordia’s summer youth residential portfolio. Accor-ding
to Graefe, around 25 per cent of kids who come with
their parents for the family program end up coming back
as a youth participant. “They’ll go as a whole family one
year, and then the children will come back on their own,”
Some families have enjoyed the immersion experience
so much they return year after year. Kathleen Dragan, a
former Spanish teacher, will be returning to El Lago del
Bosque – Concordia’s Spanish camp – for the fourth time
with her nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son in
“It was always my dream for my children to grow up
bilingual and the camp has helped make that dream a
reality,” she divulges.
At Concordia Living Villages, families get
to experience various immersive language
environments that are set up within the US.
learning at its finest.
You get to see the results
of your learning right away