Marcela Summerville: Owner and Director, Spanish Workshop for Children
Family Focus Media is proud to recognize Marcela Summerville with a Women of Influence Award.
The Family Focus Media Women of Influence Awards are designed to acknowledge and amplify the influence exceptional local women have in our Community, showcasing their accomplishments and encouraging others to follow their example. Through their efforts, these influencers have demonstrated the power to shape attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors on a large scale.
“I started learning Spanish from Marcela when I was three, and stayed with her program for almost ten years. I would not have the high level of Spanish I have today without her classes. Her weekly classes for young children combine playful elements with carefully planned out full linguistic immersion. Because of this I could converse in Spanish with others of my age by the time I was five. Marcela’s focus on participation and conversation in her classes is a very effective approach to learning. I would argue it is much more effective than a focus on grammar would be. As a homeschooler, Spanish Workshop for Children also provided me with a valuable opportunity to interact with other children my age. I am incredibly grateful to Marcela for the wonderful experiences I had in her program. ” – Tobin Richter
After relocating to the United States from Argentina in 1995, Marcela Summerville has devoted more than two decades to education and research. While raising her children bilingually, she couldn’t find any programs that would support their language learning and decided to start her own, after receiving a master’s in education. “With years of education and experience to draw from — as well my two bilingual children — I used my passion for early learning and created a distinctive methodology for teaching Spanish,” Marcela says. “I founded Spanish Workshop for Children where I continue to achieve outstanding results working with young people and their families, along with presenting workshops at prestigious conferences across the USA and internationally.”
She has written three books to help parents and young children learn Spanish, French, and Chinese.
Hard Work and Giving Back
Marcela has been proud to mentor numerous teachers at Spanish Workshop for Children, which places a strong emphasis on catering to children’s interests rather than being solely grammar-based, setting it apart from traditional approaches taught in universities and high schools.
Beyond our school’s walls, I have also extended my mentoring to student teachers and educators seeking to transition from high school to elementary level. My guidance has helped them develop innovative and child-centric curriculums, aligning with our philosophy at the Spanish Workshop for Children,” Marcela says. “It has been an incredible journey, witnessing the growth and impact of our teachers and the positive influence they have on young learners. The past two decades have been marked by continuous learning, evolution, and the joy of nurturing a love for language and culture in the hearts of children across the nation.”
Point of Pride
Together with a colleague from New Jersey, Marcela launched an initiative to promote languages and cultures to kids at a preschool age. “After years of hard work and advocacy, our initiative was a big success in 2009. It was embraced not only by our local district but also by many other schools across the USA,” she says. “This change had a significant impact. Students not only learned new languages but also developed empathy and appreciation for different cultures. We believe that early language learning can make the world a more inclusive and connected place for future generations.”