History of Language of Love
In 2005, Anna Banegas-Kokesh had a dream to start a Spanish Immersion child care center in Eden Prairie. Having a significant amount of successful entrepreneurial experience already, she had the passion and skills needed to make Language of Love a reality.
Language of Love opened in 2006, and became the first full Spanish Immersion child care center in Eden Prairie and has been serving the Eden Prairie community ever since.
Anna's vision was to have a small, family-centered childcare facility where children would be cared for by experienced, loving staff. The demand for Spanish Immersion programming continues to grow and in 2015, Language of Love opened a second location in Waconia. Even with our growth, Language of Love remains a small community. Between both schools, our capacity is lower than the average chain daycare center.
We believe that a child care center is only as good as its teachers. We pay our teachers 25% more than the average wage for child care teachers in Minnesota. Many of our original staff are still with us today, because we pay them well, offer generous paid time off, invest in their education, and provide a caring and positive workplace. This is really what sets us apart from other child care centers.
Most of our staff are native Spanish speakers, coming from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries including Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Chile. Language of Love is often described as a "large family." This is one of our points of pride, and is due to the devotion and love that our teachers and staff show the children.
About Our Programs & Curriculum
We are a full Spanish Immersion program. This means that our staff speak Spanish to the children all day long, with the exception of the young infants who are spoken to in a 50/50 mix of Spanish and English.
Infants (ages 6 weeks to 15 months)
Every infant is unique. We care for each infant individually according to their routines, personality, and parent's wishes. Our infant curriculum focuses on the acquisition of new skills and developmental milestones. We speak to infants in a mix of Spanish and English.
In our infant program, parents provide bottled breast milk or formula, and baby food/cereal. As infants begin eating normal table food, we transition them onto our meal program, which provides breakfast, lunch, snacks, and whole milk (at no extra charge).
With older infants, we focus on walking, talking, feeding themselves, and transitioning to one afternoon nap, in preparation for the toddler program.
Toddlers (ages 16 months to 32 months)
Toddlers flourish at Language of Love. We offer a well-perfected schedule that offers the stability and routines that toddlers need. Our toddler curriculum includes a theme of the week, and daily circle time followed by learning activities. We teach toddlers the alphabet, how to count, and incorporate social and natural sciences as well. Toddlers do many fun art projects, and go outside daily (weather permitting) to play in our fenced in, shaded playground. Naptime is from 1pm-3pm, and our teachers are experts at helping toddlers get to sleep through use of soft music and back-rubs.
Preschool Program (ages 33 months and up)
Our preschool program is a full-day experience. Language of Love uses a curriculum set that focuses on kindergarten readiness skills, and aligns with Minnesotaʼs Early Learning Standards. Our curriculum includes the following content areas:
- Language and Literacy
- Math and Reasoning
- Social and Emotional Skills
- Creative Development
- Social Studies
- Physical Education
Preschoolers enjoy free choice play time in the early mornings before eating breakfast. After breakfast, preschoolers transition into learning time, which includes circle time and project time. The morning wraps up with outdoor play time, or play in our indoor playground. After lunch, preschoolers have quiet rest time from 1pm-3pm. Older preschoolers who do not nap are offered books and calm activities during this time. After rest time, preschoolers eat a snack and enjoy an afternoon class activity.
Meals are included in the tuition rate. We have a commercial kitchen on-site and a cook who prepares breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the children. We grocery shop often and buy only organic vegetables. We cut up fresh fruit every day.
Example Daily Menu:
Organic steamed broccoli
Spaghetti with meatballs
Fresh cut pinapple
Milk and water
Water is offered throughout the day.
Meet the Owners
Anna learned how to speak Spanish while living in Chile in 1996 after college. She continued to develop her fluency while working in the construction industry, which is how she met her husband, Rey. Rey is from Tocoa, Honduras, and together they have five children.
Throughout the years, Anna has maintained her initial vision of keeping Language of Love a small, family-oriented environment. Anna develops a relationship with each family, and gives out her own personal cell phone number to all parents. She works Monday through Friday managing the day-to-day operations to ensure excellent care and learning.
Anna and Rey devote their spare time to mission work, both here in the Twin Cities and in Honduras.
At Language of Love, we have many traditions and events that bring our community together.
Every December, Language of Love hosts a Christmas Program that features the children singing and dancing to Christmas songs in Spanish that they have learned. Families may invite friends and extended family. A cultural meal is served after the program. A special surprise activity for the family is always included!
Around Easter, Language of Love hosts a Spring Party. In past years, this has included activities such as an egg hunt, petting zoo, face painting, and pony rides. Each year is different. Parents and siblings are invited to join in on the fun.
Each August, we graduate preschoolers that are going to kindergarten. We recognize our graduates by holding an official graduation ceremony, cap and gowns included. A reception follows the graduation ceremony. Families are welcome to invite grandparents, close friends, extended family, etc
Each child is recognized on their birthday with a birthday card made especially for them by their teacher. We also have a special birthday hat that the birthday boy or girl gets to wear, while their class sings Feliz Cumpleanos to them. If desired, cupcakes or cookies can be brought in by the parents. Birthday treats must be store bought and cannot be made at home. Please also be aware that Language of Love is a nut free environment. Products that contain nuts are not allowed.