University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Students Start First Hands-On
Spanish Summer Camp in Eau Claire

 MAILED:  June 19, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - Children ages 5 to 10 can learn Spanish this summer, thanks to the efforts of two Spanish education majors at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Valerie Mumm, a senior from Tomah, and Lee Ann Pignet, a senior from Mukwonago, have started a Spanish summer camp. The camp will take place at the Children's Museum of Eau Claire. Kids can choose from three weeklong sessions - June 30 to July 3, July 7-11, and July 14-18.

There are 10 spots for ages 5-7 and 10 spots for ages 8-10 in each session, and space is still available in the third session. The class meets from 8-11 a.m., and the cost is $25.

Mumm and Pignet earlier this year offered a voluntary Spanish class to second-graders at Meadowview Elementary School in Eau Claire. Private donor Mari Jo Janke provided funding for the program through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

"There was so much interest that we taught two sessions to 34 second-graders, who gave up their recess to learn Spanish," Pignet said. "We decided to start up a summer program and teach it in one week sessions to involve more kids and raise public awareness."

Mumm said many communities have language education for elementary students and she hopes to stir up interest in Eau Claire.

"Children pick up language so quickly. They are less self conscious and have less reservation in trying speech," Mumm said. "It helps them gain perspective on what it's like to be different. They become more culturally aware."

Mumm and Pignet received a summer research grant from the university's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to do the Spanish camp. They are working with Dr. Paul Hoff, professor of foreign languages, to measure the effectiveness of their hands-on approach to learning.

"You can't teach children anything unless they want to learn and are actively involved. Through observation and reflection we will try to evaluate learning as a discovery tool," Pignet said.

Pignet and Mumm plan to present a curriculum that is fun and involves students in learning. Everyone will have a Spanish name and the teachers will speak Spanish at all times.

"We will model what we want them to do," Mumm said. "For example, instead of talking about a fiesta, we will have one."

A Fiesta del Sol at 6 p.m., July 21, will be the culminating event for all children in the camp and their friends and families. The event, which will feature authentic Spanish food and music, will take place at the Children's Museum.

Both Pignet and Mumm have been studying Spanish for eight years. In the fall Mumm will have a teaching internship in Ellsworth. Pignet will intern in Cumberland, where she will teach English as a second language to migrant workers' children for the first two months and then teach Spanish at the high school. They both plan to graduate in December.

For more information, contact (715) 855-4423 or (715) 855-4115.

UW-Eau Claire Home

Excellence. Our measure, our motto, our goal.

 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: June 19, 2003