Summer, Summer, Summer Camps!

Welcome to Nuestro Jardín

Nuestro Jardín Academy is a true Spanish immersion preschool, serving children 3 to 5+ years old. We provide a high-quality, research-based program that fosters the acquisition of children's first and second language with a focus on developing the “whole child.”

Nuestro Jardín believes in making this a unique language and cultural immersion experience for children in a preschool setting, where students not only get direct exposure to the language but also to the many different Spanish-speaking cultures in a nurturing, challenging, stimulating, and playful environment.

Our Vision of a TRUE Spanish Immersion Program

At Nuestro Jardín Academy:

  • Children benefit from our well thought-out, research-based, integrated, and multi-culturally rich program.
  • Children actively participate in classroom activities.
  • Teachers focus on children’s Spanish production to ensure students make actual progress in the stages of second language acquisition from the pre-production stage or “silent period” to early production and then to becoming speech emergent.
  • Most, if not all, of our Spanish teachers are native Spanish speakers and are the main language model for the students, making sure to speak only in Spanish. During English time, the English teacher will speak in English only.
  • Our bilingual teachers receive free and high-quality professional development in Spanish.
  • Everyone strives to build a community, involving students, teachers, and parents.
  • We see children as unique individuals who come with unique strengths and needs. We embrace this diversity and will tap into what children have to offer. We will immerse ourselves in their world of wonderment while they are immersed in the world of language learning, and together we’ll travel the path of discovery, learning, and excitement!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language,
that goes to his heart.

- Nelson Mandela -

The Gift of a Second Language

It's amazing what children can learn if given the opportunity. Without even knowing it, your child can start down the path of bilingualism. They'll thank you later!

Playing is Learning Too

Education researcher, Neville V. Scarfe said, “play is the highest form of research”. Children learn best when given adequate time to move their bodies. At Nuestro Jardín Academy, we strongly believe that a great deal of learning is happening during unstructured play time, and that there is a lot of value in it.

Spanish is More Than Just a Language

Learning and understanding the culture behind the language can make learning fun. We engage the children with activities centered around customs, dances, songs and art.

Claudia Contreras-Peters Founder / Director

Claudia Contreras-Peters was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, and at an early age, she was interested in (or obsessed with) languages. In 1992, she took a trip to California to “visit her aunt and practice her English.” She made a decision to stay in the United States and attend college in California. But that trip became the trip of her life, in that those 3 months became 24 years!

Claudia comes from a family of educators who are passionate about teaching, guiding, and supporting children in whatever stage of life they are in. Claudia has been teaching for over 15 years, 7 of which were in a Spanish immersion program for the San José Unified School District in San Jose, California. During her time there, she was able to have first-hand experience and was able to see the benefits bilingual immersion programs can offer.

During her years at San José Unified School District, Claudia worked under the supervision of Dr. Rosa Molina a renowned bilingual and bilingual immersion advocate. Claudia worked at a Professional Development school where she grew fond of collaboration and professional development practices to further her growth as an educator. As a linguist, second language teacher, and second language learner herself, Claudia has a deep understanding of first and second language acquisition and learning.

She received a BA degree in Linguistics with a minor in Spanish and a TESOL (teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate from San Jose State University. Later, she obtained her Teaching Credential from The National Hispanic University. Once in Oregon, she received a Master’s Degree in TESOL from Portland State University and also obtained her Oregon Teaching License.

Claudia has been working for over a year to make Nuestro Jardín Academy a reality. She saw the need for high quality Spanish immersion preschools in Portland and wanted to provide parents with the opportunity to give their children the gift of a second language. In the years she worked with college-aged students, she really missed working with children and their sense of wonder, their creativity, and sense of adventure. She is very excited to embark on this new journey, where she can combine her passion for teaching children, her love of languages, and her deep belief of supporting and mentoring other teachers.

Claudia lives in NE Portland with her husband, two sons (one in kindergarten, the other in preschool), and cat, Cuchito.