Somos Amigos, a Language of Friendship for Children (Somos Amigos means "We Are Friends" in English) was created by Ann Benson in 1997 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in her parent/child music studio to address the needs of non-Spanish speaking families to learn Spanish. Ms. Benson used music and movement as the basis for the classes and the result was stunning. Within the first two years Somos Amigos was translated into German and French and children and parents playfully absorbed the languages and the culture of the languages as well. The word quickly spread and Somos Amigos was being featured on the Channel 10 News out of Miami and featured in Language Magazine (an international magazine about learning language). Somos Amigos grew from the confines of Ms. Benson's music studio into private preschools, public schools and University Family Programs at Nova Southeastern University.
Ms. Benson moved to Austin in 2010 and has been leading Somos Amigos classes at Dance Xplosion in Circle C nieghborhood, at the Tango Tribe dance school in Oakhill, at private preschools, the Westlake Child Development Center, the Westlake library as well as in private homes through her "Spanish Home Academy of Austin." Somos Amigos is popular all over Austin and was seen last year on KVUE evening news. Terri Gruca, the evening news anchor, enjoyed Somos Amigos classes so much with her child that she did a news story about dual language programs in Austin! The story can be viewed on the KVUE website.
Ms. Benson is also a skilled and passionate teacher trainer. She has led teacher workshops on how to incorporate music and movement into teaching Spanish for preschool children at the state wide level in Florida and in Texas, as well as in private preschools.
Somos Amigos brings Spanish to life for both children and adults through interactive singing, movement, rhythm instruments, games, stories, learning age appropriate words, phrases and basic conversation. Families recieve a digital download of songs, poems, fingerplays and stories that reinforce the weekly lessons at home along with an online bilingual songbook with coloring pages that can be printed out at home to reinforce learning at home, inbetween classes.
- "Somos Amigos classes with our son was the best decision that we made as parents." ~ Terri Gruca, news anchor for KVUE
- "My 2 year old daughter Isabela didn't speak Spanish even though I spoke it with her at home. Now, after Somos Amigos, she's happy to use it. Music is the key! Miss Ana makes it fun and easy, I recommend it to everyone." ~ Mercedes C. Anderson Owner/Designer/Mercedes Flowers and former Univision reporter