“Every day I learn as much from the children as they learn from me. They are pure instinct and teach me so much about humanity.”
Originally from Guatemala, Silvia pretended to be a schoolteacher as a child, encouraging her friends to be students and assigning them homework. As an adult, she pursued her love of teaching and worked at a dual Spanish/English immersion school in the Kindergarten and third grade classes. She ultimately became the director of their English Department. Silvia moved to the Bay Area in 2008 and immediately discovered the KSS program; it was a dream come true for her.
Silvia worked her way through the KSS network; first in an after-school program in Walnut Creek, then as a teacher at the Walnut Creek and Oakland branches of KSS. In 2011, Silvia and her team launched KSS Berkeley, and she’s been leading as director ever since. Silvia believes in the value of a curriculum in preschool, yet emphasizes the importance of responding to children’s needs and interests. “If we’re focusing on shapes in class but one of the students recently saw a bat, all the students want to talk about bats. I try to incorporate the current interests of students into my lesson plan and be as flexible as possible.”
Now, after a nineteen-year career as a bilingual and immersion teacher, Silvia still loves every minute. And KSS is a family passion; Silvia’s daughter attended KSS Walnut Creek.
“I love to see how quickly my students learn Spanish. The children are lovely and open to everything we teach them.”
Marita grew up in a home full of teachers. Her mother taught science, her grandmother taught philosophy, and her family opened a preschool where Marita discovered her own love of teaching. She attended university in Lima to be a preschool teacher and moved to the United States in 1983. She has always loved teaching young children, whether at a preschool at Diablo Valley College, where she first began earning her U.S. teaching credentials, or babysitting and then taking care of her own two children.
When Marita discovered the KSS program in 2007, she was thrilled to learn that she could combine her love of teaching preschool with her native language and culture. Marita has worked at all three KSS locations – two years in Walnut Creek, two in Oakland, and she joined the burgeoning KSS Berkeley Campus in 2012. Marita especially enjoys how preschool-aged children seem to learn and speak a second language with ease and a perfect native accent!
Marita lives in the Bay Area and has a daughter and a son.
“I love teaching in the KSS program. We follow themes in a structured setting but are flexible for the children and can follow their interests as well. ”
For twenty-six years, Julia worked as an elementary school teacher in Guatemala and loved seeing her students progress. She moved to the United States in 2008 and immediately picked up where she left off, teaching Spanish-speaking children of adults taking English classes in Contra Costa County. She joined KSS in Berkeley 2012 after an introduction to the program by her friend and Director Silvia.
Julia believes that children learn best by singing, participating in guided activities, and speaking the words in a second language out loud. She loves to teach and sees the future in bilingual children.
Julie also loves to learn and continues to take English and child development classes at Merritt College in Oakland. Julia is proud of her beautiful family including a son, a daughter, and a grandson.