Totus Lingua

When I am out and about with my boys, I frequently hear parents chatting with one another about great classes and other activities they participate in, hoping to give their child an advantage in the complex and ever changing world.  Since language plays such an important part in our day to day lives, Lourdes Hubard and Fernando Alessandrini opened the successful Totus Lingua program to teach foreign languages to even the littlest of learners.

The Philosophy

Totus Lingua is a licensee of the New York based Language Workshop for Children, an internationally recognized language program inspired by the findings of Francois Thibaut. Thibaut’s 40 years of successful experience has yielded The Thibaut Technique, which engages both sides of the brain to connect logical and creative domains so that the new language is fully absorbed and comprehended.

The Totus Lingua program understands that first children hear, understand, and then speak so the teachers utilize an immersion technique so that children learn naturally, not through translation. Using play based instruction, even the most reluctant of learners are engaged by the language-rich program.


With class enrollment, your child is provided with language-rich activities to expand upon what is taught in each weekly session. For the Tots class, there is a vocabulary workbook/CD set and older students receive a storybook to practice what they are learning at home.

Since consistency is key, there is a new and exclusive Language Workshop for Children book given to students every ten weeks. No matter what class your child attends (for example, Chinese Mandarin for Tots) the same topic will be the main focus of the lesson, although teachers have some creative flexibility in choosing traditional toys to support the topic.

What to Expect

Totus Lingua employs only native speakers who are children oriented, trained in the Thibaut Technique, and are warm and welcoming to families. My three year old son was a little hesitant upon taking our first Spanish class since he had never really had any experience with the language, but the energetic and nurturing teacher grasped his attention right from the start.

Right from the get go, Miss Fatima integrated upbeat music and corresponding movements to have students up and learning. Since parent participation was still key during the tot level class we attended, the teacher did a great job modeling for us what to do and how to encourage our children with the tasks at hand.

As a former teacher and school administrator I can be rather particular about language instruction, but I was impressed with the balance between structure and fun to introduce the young learners to key vocabulary, such as animals, colors, food names, body parts, and numbers. Miss Fatima utilized toys that all of the children were already familiar with as a way to introduce new vocabulary, also making new students like my son feel more relaxed and less anxious about his new surroundings.

Each activity was short so that the students were engaged and interested in the new concepts the teacher was sharing with them, with about seven major activities planned during the hour long class. The hands on manipulatives were a hit with the class, especially the colored scarves, play food, and my personal favorite—the Miss Potato Head. By the time the final song was played, all of the children were following the teacher’s movements with smiling faces.

What makes Totus Lingua unique

The name Totus Lingua means “Whole Language,” and it reflects Lourdes and Fernando’s dedication to creating a play based language immersion experience for all children. With accessible tuition rates, their program introduces your children to award winning vocabulary building songs, time tested visual aids, and innovative instructional methods. You can find parent accolades on their website.

Where to find Totus Lingua

Totus Lingua offers language services to schools such as St. Mary of the Angels School in Bucktown, The Bennett Day School in Chicago, day cares, and also holds classes at popular play spaces such as The Sod Room and Purple Monkey Playroom.

You can check their class options for children ages 6 months to 9 years here.

Disclaimer:  I received free admission to Totus Lingua.  All of the opinions and descriptions of our experience are my own and not affected by Totus Lingua.


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  1. Ashley says

    Wow, this looks like such an awesome program for the kiddos! I wish they were offering classes outside of Chicago, we could definitely use a program like this on Long Island. I would love for my daughter to learn Spanish now when she’s young- I’ve heard it is so much easier for them to learn a second language while they’re still mastering their first.

    • amandasimkin says

      The program originated in New York…maybe there are locations by you that you just don’t know about yet!

    • Steph says

      Hi Ashley! I work for the parent company The Language Workshop for Children. We actually do have a location on Long Island, in Manhasset. If you are interested, you can visit our website and check out our Fall/School Year dates. We have a great group of children who regularly attend our classes!

  2. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) says

    I am always looking for new and fun ideas of things to do with my kids. This sounds great. I think my kids would love a change of pace that this provides! They love learning about history and cultural things, so I think they would enjoy a class like this!

  3. Vanessa says

    I wish they had these types of classes near me. Likewise, I am always looking for fun, age-appropriate activities for my daughter. It is challenging most of the time. I really hope this introduced near me on Long Island. We need this out here!

  4. Nicole @ One Punky Mama says

    This looks like an amazing opportunity for parents to give their children the gift of learning before the little ones even KNOW they’re learning! 🙂 I wish they had something like that around here when my children were smaller, we definitely would have taken advantage of it.

    • amandasimkin says

      So true…my little guy had no idea the new song he was signing was filled of new vocabulary! 🙂

  5. Nancy says

    I can bet kids would snatch up the language so much quicker than us as adults would. They pick up stuff so fast, don’t they? I’m impressed with your little one! I took Spanish, French AND German all in one semester. That was a hard one… hahahaha

  6. Liz Mays says

    I loved reading about this as it’s something I’ve never heard about before. The whole idea of language and play being intertwined this way is neat!

  7. Hezzi-D says

    As a teacher this is a very interesting program to me. I haven’t heard of it, but anything that works both sides of the brain would be beneficial to any child. It’s great that it has a good balance between fun and learning.

    • amandasimkin says

      I am always very skeptical of language programs since I am a Reading Specialist, and I can’t rave more about the structure of this class–fun filled learning!

    • amandasimkin says

      I’m sure they will be more interested in their family culture as they get older…it’s what happened to me!

  8. Bonnie @ wemake7 says

    Oh wow, this is something I would love for my kiddos to be part of. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Lauren says

    This really looks like a great program for kids! I love reading about these kind of things because I need them for my son! Thanks for the great review!

  10. Vera Sweeney says

    This sounds like an amazing class for the kids to take!! I loved when my kids would take classes like this to grow at a young age. Looks like your kiddo had a ton of fun!

  11. Cassie says

    This is quite the program for kids! I wish this was available closer to where my niece and nephew live so they could get started on learning a second language.

  12. rochkirstin says

    Language is very important as it stands as the bridge to connect with other people in the world. It’s great to teach kids with the CD and workbook so they can have both visual and audio learning assistants. Toys are also great to provide guidance in familiarization.

  13. Breanna says

    I’m really interested in learning more about this. I am a teacher with both elementary and early childhood degrees, and this really sparks an interest in me not only as a teacher, but a Mommy, too! 🙂

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