Copyright © 2014 welcomeamigos.com All Rights Reserved
Developed by Red turtle
Letter from the Director
¡Bienvenidos! Thank you for visiting our website and taking the time to learn more about our programs. I am delighted to introduce you to Welcome Amigos.
As you browse through our website, you will meet an incredible community. You will see photos of our smiling children, curious and engaged in hands-on, active learning. You will be introduced to our dedicated teaching staff who strive to make each child feel welcomed, loved, included and respected. You will learn about ways in which our parents partner with our staff to create a loving and diverse environment, both inside and outside of the classroom. And you will read about our curriculum that not only introduces our children to the Spanish language, but also to a variety of cultures and traditions.
For more than sixteen years, Welcome Amigos has provided bilingual educational opportunities through our preschool, our after-school enrichment programs and our summer camps. This year we are excited to expand on those opportunities, as we welcome our first accredited, dual-immersion kindergarten class.
It has always been my belief that giving a child the gift of a second language opens the door to a world of opportunities. If you would like to learn more about our programs, our future plans and the gift of bilingual education, I would be happy to introduce you to our amazing community in person. Feel free to contact me to arrange a tour.
Founder and Director
NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) - 10 Standards of Excellence
Welcome Amigos International School is a licensed and nationally accredited preschool that follows the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards to offer a quality program for children. These 10 standards of excellence measure the quality of early childhood programs.
The NAEYC is the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children, and we are proud to be identified by the NAEYC as a quality institution that meets and exceeds the standards set forth by the organization. The organization is dedicated to improving the well being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children, from birth through age 8.
The NAEYC has created 10 standards that measure the quality of early childhood programs, which include over 400 different criterions that must be met. The standards were created by a blue-ribbon panel of early childhood experts and are based on the latest early childhood research.
Welcome Amigos International School meets the ten NAEYC standards of excellence for early childhood programs:
RELATIONSHIPS: Promote positive relationships for all children and adults to encourage each child's sense of individual worth.
CURRICULUM: Implement a curriculum that fosters all areas of child development: cognitive, emotional, language, physical, and social.
TEACHING: Use developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate effective teaching approaches.
ASSESSMENT OF CHILD PROGRESS: Provide ongoing assessments of a child's learning and development and communicate the child's progress to the family.
HEALTH: Promote the nutrition and health of children and protect children and staff from injury and illness.
TEACHERS: Employ a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children's learning and development, and to support families' diverse needs and interests.
FAMILIES: Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with each child's family.
COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS: Establish relationships with and use the resources of the community to support the achievement of program goals.
PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: Provide a safe and healthy physical environment.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT: Implement strong personnel, fiscal, and program management policies so that all children, families, and staff have high-quality experiences.
For more detailed information on these Standards, visit the 10 NAEYC Program Standards page at: http://families.naeyc.org/accredited-article/10-naeyc-program-standards
Research shows that children who study a second language pgnstrate greater cognitive development and can achieve higher levels of proficiency in other subjects. In addition, learning in a second language encourages cross-cultural friendships, which open the door to appreciating other cultures and people.
Research on Bilingual Education:
Industry and Market Analysis There is a high demand for private bilingual school services in the San Francisco Bay Area. This metropolitan area shows the fastest growing population in California and so the increasing need for school services . Additionally, the San Francisco Bay Area holds a highly diverse and educated population, which is also competitive in preparing their children for later academic success. The benefits of multiple languages in early years are well researched and documented . An increasing number of parents have the desire to provide these educational advantages to their children.
Contra Costa Times. Bay Area growth pushes California population near 38 million. May 2013 ;
According to the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) learning in a bilingual environment at an early age have the following benefits:
Children who study in two languages pgnstrate greater cognitive development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, divergent thinking, and high-order thinking skills.
Has a positive effect on intellectual growth and enhances mental development.
Bilingual children can achieve higher levels of proficiency in math, music, and science.
Leaves students with more flexibility a greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
Improves a child’s understanding of his/her native language.
Gives a child the ability to communicate with people she or he would otherwise not have the chance to know and encourages cross-cultural friendships opens the door to other cultures and helps a child understand and appreciate people from other countries.
Gives a student a head start in language requirements for college.
Increases job opportunities in many careers where knowing another language is a real asset.
We have put together resource and news links that will help inform you as your child embarks on this wonderful learning experience.
Multilingual Children is a handy resource for parents who need more information about their children growing up with more than one language:
Find out the research that’s being conducted about growing up multilingual in NPR’s report, Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power:
Bilingualism good for the brain, researchers say. See the story from the LA Times:
A study of bilingual infants suggests that a bilingual upbringing outfits infants with more sensitive language perception abilities, even for languages other than the two spoken at home:
Speaking in Tongues is a film about four diverse kids on a journey to become bilingual. This charming story will challenge you to rethink the skills that Americans need to succeed in the 21st century.
Why it Pays to Be Bilingual:
How Babies Sort Out Language:
Why is It Smart to be Bilingual:
Being Bilingual Boosts Brain Power:
What the Research Shows About the Benefits of Language Learning:
Studies Find Language Is Key to Learning Math:
It is a joy to be committed to our passion: Teaching children in Spanish in a nurturing environment that is tailored to their unique needs.
Our native Spanish teachers hold degrees in Education and Early Childhood Development. They have a passionate commitment to the intellectual and social development of each child. The Welcome Amigos staff has developed a rich and dynamic curriculum tailored specifically to a young child’s ability to learn Spanish in a context of full language immersion.
Welcome Amigos International School recognizes that having an educated, well-trained staff is essential to quality care and education for children. In addition, it is highly important that teachers have the ability to stay current and utilize the most up to date information in the education of young children. Therefore, the school supports professional and personal growth and development of teachers in the education in the ECE (Early Childhood Education) field, bilingual education and social/emotional development through seminars, workshops, and classes at local community colleges and institutions that educate teachers in different areas of education and children. Furthermore, teachers are required to do a minimum of 18 hours of professional growth relevant to pedagogy practices during the school year.
Elizabeth Villagomez (Maestra Elizabeth)
Founder, Program Director and Lead Teacher
Elizabeth Villagomez is from Mexico. She is a mother of a College student and sophomore in high school. Elizabeth founded Welcome Amigos in 1998. She has an Associate’s Degree and Certificate in Child Development from Cañada College as well as a Child Development Teacher Permit. Ms. Elizabeth is pursuing her Masters degree on Human Development through Pacific Oak College. In addition, she has a site supervisor permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and extensive training in social emotional and cognitive development from
the Northeast foundation and the Responsive Classroom approach. Furthermore, Ms. Elizabeth has taken the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum primary years training. Ms. Elizabeth has independently brought Welcome Amigos Spanish immersion program to several bay area preschools and recreational centers, as well as The Nueva School during the 2002-2004 school years.
“It’s a joy to teach children in my native language and be testimonial of their social, personal and academic growth while giving them the gift of a second language that will open their world to many opportunities”. – Ms. Elizabeth
Desiree Raja (Maestra Desi)
Teacher (ages 3 1/2 – 5) Alameda site
Desiree Raja is originally from Spain. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree on Educación Primaria (Elementary School) at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. She has worked with children ages 2 -12 for four years. She has also volunteered in Nicaragua as a Spanish teacher in a preschool for three months. In addition, Ms. Desi has worked as a tutor for about 2 years with children with special needs. Ms. Desi speaks four languages, Spanish as her native language, Catalan, Italian and English. This year of 2018, she is working on validating all of her transcripts as she is a qualified lead preschool teacher with the Department of Education.
“It’s beautiful to be part of the learning and growing experience of the little ones. Helping the children develop and giving them the tools to build their knowledge and be successful into their adult life-it’s something that fulfills me. Every child is unique and I always make sure that they know how special and talented they are. Every day at school is a new and exciting adventure that we all experience together learning from each other.” – Ms. Desi
Caritina Aleman (Maestra Cari)
Teacher’s Aid (ages 2 – 5) Alameda site
Caritina Aleman is from México. She has two children of her own, ages 10 and 9. We have hired Mrs. Cari to help us supervise children along with the lead teacher as needed. In addition, she organizes class supplies, disinfects toys, and assists teachers and children throughout the day in different areas. Mrs. Cari has spent the past 4 years being
a loving nanny of children from 2 months to 10 years old. She has dreamed of being a fully committed preschool assistant and is excited to expand her knowledge in a preschool setting at Welcome Amigos while attending school to earn knowledge in the ECE (Early Child Development) field. Mrs. Cari has brought her loving and caring personality along with her commitment to our team since mid-December of 2017.
“Children have pure and innocent souls which adults can learn from. I love children and I promise you that anything that the teachers and children need from me, I am there to assist them. I am responsible and aware of the needs of others. Being around children and playing with them is such a joy that I don’t feel the time pass by.” – Mrs. Cari
Sandra Henderson (Maestra Sandra)
Teacher (ages 2 – 3) Hamlet site
Sandra Henderson was born in Peru. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazón (Unife) from Peru. In addition, she has over 21 years of experience in the field of Education. She taught in Peru as a Kindergarten teacher for five years. Ms. Sandra has been working as a preschool teacher in California since 1999. Maestra Sandra has been a teacher at Welcome Amigos since Fall 2012 teaching the Colibríes class (ages 3 – 4) for three consecutive years. During the school year 2016-2017 she was the main lead teacher for the Mariquitas and Abejitas groups (ages 2 – 3 and 3 – 3 1/2). Maestra Sandra’s dedication to her students has contributed to be a great Welcome Amigos staff members.
“I feel being a teacher is the most rewarding career, I am amazed by how much the “young children” I am always impressed to see how these young people can do BIG things”. – Ms. Sandra
Evelin Barreto (Maestra Evelyn)
Teacher (ages 2- 3) Hamlet Teacher
“Evelin was born in Bolivia. She has been in the United States for almost three years. She graduated as a Teacher from Escuela Normal Superior de Maestros “Enrique Finot” in 2008 in Bolivia. She has taught Mathematics and English to Elementary School age children and teenagers for 5 years. In addition, she got her Bachelor degree in English from Gabriel Rene Moreno University in 2014. Currently, she is pursuing her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education at Skyline College. She is getting her Certificate on Early Childhood Education this May of 2018. She volunteered last semester in Calvary Preschool with children age 4 to 5 years old. She was also the nanny of a 2 years old boy for two years. She took care of 3 children 12, 4 and 2 years old for about two years. She has spent most of her time working with children from different ages. She really enjoys teaching because it makes her grow not only professionally but also personally.
“I am very excited to be part of Welcome Amigos. I love the fact that Welcome Amigos is a Spanish Immersion School and it makes me feel like I am at home. I look forward to learning from each student and spending so many teaching and fun times together as well as meeting all of the families and working with the Welcome Amigos Team”. – Ms. Evelin
Santos Garcia (Santos)
Teacher’s Aid (ages 2 – 5) Alameda and Hamlet sites
Santos Garcia was born in México. Mr. Santos is a father of two children, one in College and one in High School. Mr. Santos has been a huge helping hand at Welcome Amigos. He is the husband of Ms. Elizabeth Villagomez, the school founder. He has been working alongside with her and the staff since 2004. We are so lucky to have him as part of our staff. Mr. Santos does not have just one title when it comes to Welcome Amigos. He truly does it all, from being a handyman to telling great stories and chasing the kids around the playground. The children enjoy his charismatic attitude and fun games. Mr. Santos constantly has the children laughing and playing. It has been through his experience at Welcome Amigos that he found his passion working with children, so much so that he decided to take ECE (Early Childhood Education) classes at Cañada College since the summer of 2017.
“The joy the children bring into my life is priceless. All human beings beginning from childhood possess social and emotional needs that must be met to be free to learn well and thrive. It is a rewarding experience to help children feel a sense of belonging, significance, and understanding from a male’s point of view. As a dad and now educator, I understand that we, parents and adults, should care about every child’s well being and positive life experiences because we are their mentors that spend most of the day with them.”– Mr. Garcia
Esperanza Garcia –(Maestra Esperanza)
Preschool Teacher’s Aid – Hamlet site
Esperanza Garcia is from Mexico City. Mrs. Esperanza is the mother of the program director, Elizabeth Villagomez. She has been part of Welcome Amigos since it opened its doors in 1998. Mrs. Esperanza has been a great addition to our program. She is very loving, caring, and supportive to all of the Welcome Amigos Family. Teachers love to have Mrs. Esperanza help with the children because she is attentive to detail and very hardworking. Some of her responsibilities include keeping the learning environment clean and safe. Mrs. Esperanza assists the teachers and children as needed. She has also raised four children of her own, two of which have become preschool teachers. Mrs. Esperanza has more than a decade of experience caring for children as young as newborns, including four grandchildren.
“Es un honor para mi el poder ser parte de la vida de pequeños y preciosos seres humanos con un enorme alma pura y bello corazón. Aprender de los pequeños ha sido una experiencia remarcable en mi vida.” (I feel honored to be able to be part of the lives of these little and precious human beings, with a big heart and soul so beautiful and pure. Learning from the little ones has been a remarkable experience in my life). – Mrs. Garcia
Elizabeth Villagomez, founder of Welcome Amigos, grew up in Mexico City and came to California in 1992.
In 1998, Elizabeth wanted to find a joyful career that allowed her to spend time with her infant daughter. She began tutoring high school students and adults. Before long, Elizabeth has independently brought Welcome Amigos to several bay area recreational centers and preschools. In addition, Elizabeth also worked at The Nueva School during 2004-2006 as a Spanish teacher for elementary school age children from K-5th grades.
Elizabeth has a bachelor degree in Child Development from Cañada College as well a Children Development Teacher Permit and Site Supervisor Permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Furthermore, she has extensive training in social emotional and cognitive development from the Northeast foundation and the Responsive Classroom Approach. In addition, she has taken online courses for her Master’s degree on Human Development from Pacific Oaks College with Emphasis on Leadership and Community Pasadena, CA in May 2015. In addition, Elizabeth remains active in the field of Education by taking courses that increase her professional growth in educational institutions.
Elizabeth's strong attachment to her family, Hispanic traditions and culture and her ability to speak naturally to children in Spanish, led to her dream of creating a Spanish Immersion school with a special environment. Welcome Amigos officially opened its doors in 1998. Elizabeth says, "Being in this career is the best experience of my life, besides having my own children. It's a joy to teach children in my native language, recognize them as individuals, and be witness to their personal and academic growth while giving them the gift of a second language that will open their world to many opportunities."
What sets us apart?
Serving Bay Area families since 1998.
We follow the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines to offer a quality program to the children, through 10 standards of excellence that measure the quality of early childhood programs.
We would be the first accredited by the NAEYC: offering a preschool, Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Spanish/English bilingual school in the Peninsula.
We offer a bilingual education program to a diverse community where children are educated with strong academic stimulation.
We educate the whole child, putting equal emphasis on intellectual development and social emotional growth.
Our teachers hold degrees in education and child development and are native Spanish speakers.
We present themes of inquiry to develop critical thinkers, inquirers, caring, communicators, knowledgeable, open-minded, risk takers, and problem solvers at an early age.
We teach children to appreciate cultures and traditions and include all members of our community.
We are dedicated to providing a joyful and engaging atmosphere that acknowledges and supports children’s ability to construct and understand the world.
We provide a highly energetic, nurturing and developmentally age appropriate academic environment.
We recognize that no two children are alike, and we celebrate each child’s unique qualities by offering a unique program that is adapted to his/her individual needs.
We maintain a small student-to-teacher rations to ensure that each child receives individual attention and is introduced to new concepts when he/she is ready to learn them.
Copyright © 2014 welcomeamigos.com All Rights Reserved
Developed by Red turtle