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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Knowing a second language can be a valuable skill in the global marketplace. That will likely be even more true for the next generation. A unique partnership is sparking an interest in foreign language in some young kids while teaching college students some life lessons.

Lauren Stegall’s first grade class at Starkville’s Sudduth Elementary School is part of a semester-long learning project with students from Mississippi State.

The class will be learning basic Spanish from educational videos made by a Spanish I class at MSU. The 3-to-5-minute-long video will teach the students how to perform a particular task in Spanish.

“We talked about what were things we were interested in and so we narrowed it down to cookies. Who doesn’t love cookies? So they’re going to make us a ‘how to’ video on how to make cookies,” said Stegall.

For the first-graders, learning in steps is part of their everyday curriculum. The videos will re-enforce that skill while instilling an interest in languages.

“How to do things in sequence, so obviously if you’re baking cookies you have to follow things in sequence, so at Mississippi State, the students understand that is one of our goals. They have to be very specific in how they tell us to do that,” said Stegall.

The project is sponsored by MSU’s Center For The Advancement of Service Learning Excellence, which promotes citizenship and service.

“At this level, we have no exposure to Spanish, so if our parents don’t speak Spanish, if I don’t speak Spanish, they have no exposure to it. So this is one way for them to gain exposure to another language,” said Stegall.

Some of the first graders are showing off the Spanish they have learned from the college students already.

“Hola, ‘and what does that mean?’ Hello,” said first-grader Sachi Clay.

The students say they are excited and can’t wait until the project is completed next month.

“We can learn how to speak other languages, so when we go to different countries, we can learn how to talk to other people,” said first-grader Tyson Knox.

Stegall says she hopes to continue the service learning project in the coming semesters.

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