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Moving lessons in Spanish language

Music and dance from Scottish Opera introduced children to one of the most popular school languages, as Deedee Cuddihy reports

Music and dance from Scottish Opera introduced children to one of the most popular school languages, as Deedee Cuddihy reports

I think we're on to a winner here!" exclaims Audrey Blake, the cheery manager of Scottish Opera's education department. An assortment of 14 small children, plus accompanying adults, have just taken part in the first of four pilot sessions aimed at introducing Spanish to toddlers and their carers, using music and movement.

Dedicated to "providing opportunities for everyone to become involved in Scottish Opera", the education department already caters for babies (with their renowned "BabyO" sessions) and three to 10-year-olds ("Sing up Saturday" classes - in Spanish and Italian).

"Spanish for Toddlers will bridge the gap between those two," explains press officer Emma York, adding that Spanish was chosen because of its popularity in schools.

Judging by the response to the first pilot session in Glasgow, there should be more than enough parents willing to pay pound;6 per class, when "Spanish for Toddlers" is officially launched in August.

Developed and delivered by teachersinger Daniela Hathaway, a dynamic native Spanish speaker, the first session was based on Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, giving plenty of scope for interactive play as a cuddly toy version of the popular insect munched its way through "banana, naranja, tomate" - as well as a giant string of pantomime salchicha (sausages).

Accompanied by Heather Drysdale on violin and glockenspiel, the toddlers were encouraged to help Daniela with some Spanish nursery songs by keeping time with mini maracas and stamping their feet.

"Arriba!" exclaimed Daniela as the caterpillar was bounced into the air by the toddlers, to great comic effect, using an improvised trampoline of stretchy green lycra.

"Adios, ninos!" said the caterpillar to the children as the session came to an end.

www.scottishopera.org.uk.

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