“You can see that parents really want their children to learn Portuguese,” the founder of the platform, Luso-American Sandra Carapinha, told Lusa. “With Portuguese spread all over the United States, it turns out to be difficult to find local classes. This is a more practical way”.
The project of online group classes for children is having “very positive adhesion” with several groups already sold out.
As explained by Sandra Carapinha, there is a lack of supply in teaching Portuguese to children, both face-to-face and remote, group or individual classes.
“The problem is that there are few teachers who want to teach children”, stressed the Portuguese-American. “It is very difficult to find teachers specialised in Portuguese as a foreign language for children”.
In addition, children have to be divided by age and can only take these classes after school, which makes creating an offer even more complicated.
“Local schools have a great advantage, but they only work in places with a lot of children”, pointed out Sandra Carapinha. “If I opened a school in Los Angeles, I could find two five-year-olds, one six-year-old, one eight-year-old, one nine-year-old. It makes no sense to create a group with all these ages”.
Return to origins
The official explained that the increase in interest stems from a “return to the origins” of Portuguese-Americans, who are committed to their children knowing how to speak and write in Portuguese.
There are also students who are not children of Portuguese parents but whose family wants to move to Portugal, a growing phenomenon in recent years.
Demand is widespread, from the West coast to the East coast and passing through many places where there is no strong tradition of Portuguese communities.
“I am contacted by people who live in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, who do not have access”, said Sandra Carapinha. "The benefit of online classes is being able to reach many more people and children still interacting".
Headquartered in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, the platform has always been geared towards adult education. This is the first experience aimed at children, with small groups and teachers hired in Portugal.