At Sonrisas Spanish School our mission is to create fun and effective preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum materials that are standards-based and teacher-based and provide a positive foreign language learning experience for students. We believe that children learn Spanish most effectively in a human-to-human mode with a talented teacher, an effective, standards-based curriculum and (last but certainly not least), lots of fun. Our curriculum does not include extras and gimicks, but rather it offers teachers the essentials they need to successfully teach Spanish. We have been teaching Spanish to children for sixteen years, and we know what works in the classroom. We value the human communication that a teacher provides, and we believe that this type of learning is much more effective than media-based programs.
Sonrisas Spanish School was founded in 1996 by Blue Lindner after she became interested in combining her experience as a bilingual/ESL elementary teacher and her experience teaching at the Austin Waldorf School. Blue's husband Brooks, also a certified bilingual/ESL elementary teacher, soon joined her, and Sonrisas Spanish School grew rapidly from 12 students at one school to more than 100 students at multiple schools in the Austin area.
The curriculum that Blue and Brooks created and used in their elementary Spanish classes proved to be very successful. The combination of ESL techniques and Waldorf techniques addressed the specific ways that children learn Spanish. The results were phenomenal—not only were the students learning Spanish, but they loved Spanish class and looked forward to it.
Noting a lack of Spanish curriculum at the early childhood level, Blue and Brooks decided to publish their curriculum in order to share their success with other Spanish teachers. In 2002, they completed and published Sonrisas Spanish School: An Early Childhood Spanish Language Curriculum. Their first book rapidly spread to elementary school Spanish programs, preschool Spanish programs, and homeschool Spanish programs in all fifty states.
Energized by the success of their first curriculum, Blue and Brooks saw a need for a more substantial cultural component to the Sonrisas classroom. In 2009 they published Sonrisas Spanish School: An Elementary Cultural Curriculum.
In the summer of 2011, Blue and Brooks published a revision of their original curriculum that reflected their own personal growth in teaching and added improvements to the content and format of the curriculum. The revision, Sonrisas Level I, still holds true to their original ideas about using the fundamental human-to-human connection in teaching Spanish. For teachers and parents that have enjoyed the Level I curriculum and are ready to take their students to the next level, Blue and Brooks created Sonrisas Level II, the next level in the Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum.
Blue and Brooks Lindner live, teach, and make music in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. They have two children, Pitcher and Elsa.