As part of our mission to help immigrants integrate into the surrounding area and successfully navigate the naturalization application process, we offer history and citizenship classes for clients who are eligible to become United States citizens.
El Pueblo has offered English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction since 2007. We currently offer three levels of adult ESL instruction. Class activities are conducted in an environment designed to lower the anxiety, frustration, and stress of learning a new language by encouraging laughter and rewarding progress. Books, magazines, and other publications are utilized to develop students’ word recognition, speech, and pronunciation skills. By improving their command of English, immigrants increase their ability to be independent, integrated, contributing residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Our classes are held two evenings per week, in twelve week sessions, beginning in the fall and ending in the spring. In the fall of 2017, we are piloting a conversational Spanish language class for native English speakers. This will take place at the same time as English classes in order to facilitate peer-to-peer learning opportunities with ESL students.
El Pueblito/ Family Literacy Classes
Thanks to a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, El Pueblito was launched in 2013 to promote inter-generational learning and foster bilingual skills in the children of adult ESL students. A safe and fun educational environment, El Pueblito is a haven where children feel comfortable learning among their peers. Examples of the activities the children participate in include: group reading and writing, spelling games, word games, storytelling, after-school homework help, the El Pueblito Library, and “the word of the week.” El Pueblito also supports immigrants’ active involvement in their children’s academic progress.
We schedule El Pueblito classes simultaneously with adult ESL classes to prevent potential babysitting and transportation burdens. Since we do not offer adult ESL classes in the summer months, El Pueblito has partnered for the past two summers with the Gaston Pointe Community Center to offer a free summer camp session focused on tandem language learning and cultural exchange between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking children. This summer El Pueblito initiated a Holistic Summer Gardening & Healthy Living Program for the whole family.
Each student receives individualized attention in order to accurately identify their strengths and weaknesses. Students with similar needs are grouped together, and we adjust our teaching methodology and curriculum to best suit the group. Students of El Pueblo are individually evaluated on a consistent basis to determine levels of English language reading, writing, and comprehension. Project staff and volunteers meet on a regular basis with parents and students to ensure El Pueblo is fulfilling their specific needs. Considerable effort is made to create environments that foster friendships between different families, relationships which cultivate continued learning outside the program as students tutor each other during interactions in their daily lives. Our instructors design classes to break down initial barriers and instill confidence in the students that they will succeed.
Fall 2018 classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m. beginning on August 21. To enroll, please call (228) 436-3986 and make a 20-minute individual registration appointment. Students are asked to make a $40 donation to cover the cost of their book and other learning materials, but no families will be denied enrollment if unable to pay. Registration is open throughout the semester.