Summer is right around the corner and Early Language Learning and Arts (ELLA) Studio in Ahwatukee will be offering the community its Summer Language Scholars Camp to assist youth in learning Spanish.

The Summer Language Scholars Camp centers on enrichment learning, where students, ages 2 to 10 years old, will be taught Spanish in subject areas such as reading, writing, math and social studies.

Pre-kindergarten material will also be taught during the summer camp, which will be instructed mostly in Spanish.

Four instructors and one enrichment teacher will be on site during the summer camp, and each session is offered once a week.

Each week will be themed and everything being instructed will be based on the theme, including the skills of math, writing, social studies, etc.

“We provide an academic advantage to children who attend our studio because the brain is actually developed more when children learn a second language before the age of 5. Even if they do not continue to learn the language, they have turned on more parts of their brain than a child who is monolingual,” said Dr. Nicole McNeil, director of the program.

One of the things that most people don’t understand is that the studio is not only teaching Spanish, she said.

The Summer Language Scholars Camp also centers on teaching skills in Spanish, so children will be ready to enter kindergarten and also be bilingual.

“We teach the skills in the language, so we can do both simultaneously. We are taking advantage of how big the brain is during the early years, and really pushing it,” McNeil said.

She started ELLA Studio in August 2013, as a way to provide an academic advantage to children who learn a second language.

She has been working with English-language learners for the past 18 years, and when she had her own children she wanted them to learn Spanish.

McNeil had trouble searching for an institute that taught children to become bilingual academically, so in 2010 she opened a preschool in the Biltmore area.

Through her experience working toward teaching children to be bilingual, McNeil has found that kids who are bilingual benefit more than children who are monolingual.

Isabel Doyle, who has two children signed up for the summer camp, heard about the program from McNeil and wanted to have her children continue their education in Spanish.

“They are learning everything from reading, their numbers, to their conversation,” Doyle said. “It’s such a great opportunity for the children to be exposed to more than one language, and for them to be a part of the program with other students. They’re very happy and it builds on their skills.”

Sessions for Summer Language Scholar Camp will be from June 22 to July 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at ELLA Studio, 1241 E. Chandler Blvd.

The cost to attend Summer Language Scholar Camp is $125 per week.

For more information about ELLA Studio and its summer camp, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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