Frequently Asked Questions

We often get questions about language learning, our approach, about whether or not a child is ready to learn, or how to get started. There’s a lot to consider when thinking about enrichment classes for your little one, and we want to help you make the right decision for you. Use this FAQ as a starting point, and feel free to reach out to us at with any additional questions!


Where can I find your contact information?

It’s located on our contact us page. Please give us a call or send us an email anytime. We’re here to help!

Where can I find your class schedule?

We have lots and lots of classes to offer. You can find the schedule for our elementary and some preschool classes by clicking the appropriate registration link on our sign-up page.


What programs do you offer?

We currently offer language classes at preschools and elementary schools in the Greater Seattle Area. Private tutoring is also available. Our various classes are for Pre-K through 5th grade. Learn more about our programs.

Do you offer private tutoring?

Yes! We offer private classes and 1:1 tutoring to meet your needs. Let us know you’re interested at,.

Do you offer any advanced instruction?

Advanced instruction is available via custom tutoring only.

Can you offer classes at my child’s school?

We are always looking for new opportunities to share language learning! Check out how to bring Sponge to your school. We’d love to hear from you.

Do you offer trial classes?

Unfortunately, we cannot offer trial classes at elementary schools.

How do I register for a class?

For most classes, You can sign up online. Head over to our Sign Up page, and select the link for where you’ll attend classes with us.

Note: Some schools handle their own registration and will not be listed in our system. 

How much does a session cost?

All of our class prices are listed in the online registration system. Navigate to our Sign Up page and select the link for the class type and session you are interested.

None of the class times work for me. Can I still learn?

Yes. We offer private tutoring solutions! Reach out to us at to learn more.

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

We do not offer discounts for classes at elementary schools, however we do offer a limited number of need-based scholarships to students that qualify for free and reduced lunch, once our minimum enrollment has been met for the class. If you qualify and would like to learn more, please contact your school.

What is your refund policy?

Generally, for classes at elementary schools, no refunds are offered for short duration sessions. For full year sessions, we offer prorated refunds through the 2nd week of classes.  No refunds are available after this period. Please see the cancellation policy during registration for full details as policies vary by school.

What’s your cancellation policy for purchases done via CourseHorse website?

If you purchase your Sponge class via CourseHorse, our cancellation policy applies to your purchase. If you need further help regarding this or have any questions, please visit the CourseHorse site in Seattle and contact their customer service team.

What is your privacy policy?

We use the information you provide to deliver good or services your purchased and may use the information to contact you for future services, events and offerings. You may opt out of such communications at any time using the opt-out mechanisms listed on the email or by contacting us via email listed on this website.

We do not sell or share information with third parties or partners, however we do use various third party providers for registration services, billing, scheduling and order management. Information collected by such providers is governed by their respective policies. Please visit relevant provider’s website for further details.

Important note: If you opt-out of receiving notifications via our registration system, you’ll also not receive any critical notifications such as registration changes, class updates, changes, cancellations, etc. 

I can’t access my account. Can you help?

If you have lost or forgotten your password, you can reset it here. If that doesn’t work, please email We’re happy to help!


How are Sponge classes structured?

Each class incorporates a variety of activities for each type of learner. We introduce language using a variety of techniques, including drama, song and TPR, or Total Physical Response. After introducing new language, we play games and do activities that are tailored to the specific language taught in class.

How do you keep the kids engaged?

Kids learn best when they are having fun! We do lots of interactive games, drama, activities and song in each class. We incorporate lots of variation and movement into the curriculum plan for each class, so that students get the repetition they need while staying engaged and having fun.

How small are your classes?

In elementary schools, the maximum is 12 students. Small classes help us give the individual instruction that each student deserves!

What is your make-up policy?

We do not offer make-ups or credit/refund for missed classes at elementary schools.

Who teaches Sponge classes?

All of our classes are taught by native speakers of the respective languages. They come from lots of diverse countries, backgrounds, and disciplines. Learn more about our team. Regardless of background, we provide extensive and ongoing training for our teachers, to ensure that they are successful and up-to-date with the latest teaching practices. We have regular teacher meetings, where we collaborate and share tips, tricks and ideas to use in class.


What language should we take?

The short answer is to go with what you’re most excited about! There are lots of benefits regardless of which language you pick. You can learn more about the benefits of language learning on our resources page. If you’re still not sure which language to choose, try thinking about where you’re interested in traveling, if you know anybody that speaks a different language, or even what international cuisines you like to eat! Language learning takes time, and the important part is to stick with it.

Do you teach standard dialects?

Our teachers are well-educated native speakers. And, they use standard language in class. Because of regional differences, an accent may be new to you – our Chilean teachers do sound slightly different than our Guatemalan teachers. Be reassured, however, that when the children model their teacher, they sound like native speakers. The same goes for each of our languages!


Is an immersion method really the best way to teach?

One of the most significant factors a student has in learning is the amount of exposure he or she gets to the language. To maximize the amount of exposure, we teach all in language. We are careful to use comprehensible input. That is, the teacher ensures through language choice, gestures, pictures, and objects that the students understand the language. ACTFL also has declared teaching in the language to be a best practice for language teaching.

Is my child learning the same language as last session/year?

From year to year, we cover different thematic units. So the vocabulary, and context for the learning are new. The classroom language and some communication standards (etiquette, greetings, numbers, etc.) will be used again in class—just as they are in the real world. If your child is recognizing language that he or she has heard before, it’s a great thing! You might encourage them to think about not only the words they are hearing, but also how the teacher is using them. As they gain confidence in recognizing the vocabulary it becomes easier to put together longer sentences and more complex thoughts!

Do you teach reading and writing?

The majority of our classes are heavily focused on listening and speaking, as that’s what kids learn best at a young age! We introduce some reading and writing in our elementary classes.

Is my child too young to learn a new language?

No. Babies begin learning language right away, and the first year of life is a big time for learning to distinguish which sounds are important. That’s why the earlier you begin, the more likely your child is to attain a native-like accent in the language.

Is my child too old to learn a new language?

No (and neither are you!). Language learning is an enriching adventure, no matter when you start. However, research shows that students who begin in elementary school or earlier are 11 times more likely to continue language study later on when compared to their peers, and are 70% more likely to gain fluency. So while it’s never too late, the earlier the better.

My child is worried about class. What can I do?

Please let us know if your child is worried or anxious. Our teachers are eager to make each student a confident learner, and if we know more about their learning style we can help them get there more quickly. We’ve found that we can help a child gain confidence by encouraging them to look for cues. Helping them understand that they do not need to be able to translate word for word is key. They often have very good guesses about what the teacher is saying. Letting them know that this is a piece of language learning is key. Breaking down this barrier to language learning can be more challenging as they get older. By building language-learning skills early, they have them to use no matter where they travel or what language they study.

Will my child become fluent?

Fluency in a language is acquired with significant amounts of exposure over time. It helps to start early. A recent study from the University of Oregon showed that students are 70% more likely to reach competency by the end of high school if they have started their language studies in elementary school or earlier. On the ELLOPA (Early Language Learning Proficiency Assessment) scale, we expect that students will be able to achieve Novice-High to Intermediate-Low by the end of our program. This sets them up to succeed in mastering intermediate levels of language in middle and high school.  It’s important to remember that every student is different!

My child can’t translate. Why not?

We teach class in language and we encourage the students to listen and respond naturally—and they do! Translation is a separate skill from comprehension or production within a contextual (and in our case fully immersive) environment. So while your child may not be able to tell you that yellow is ‘huang se’ in Mandarin he might be able to point at something yellow when asked “Where’s the yellow ball?” or choose between a yellow sheet of paper or a green sheet, or even spontaneously say “huang se!” when he wants a particular yellow object in class. One of the wonderful things about an immersion environment is the solidity of the language that is acquired. So while a child can memorize “In Mandarin you say ‘huang se’ for yellow,’ it’s also easily forgotten. Building a comprehension base around hearing language in multiple contexts is like nurturing a solid root system in a newly planted tree. It takes time but it is well worth it!

Supplementing at home

Do you assign homework?

No. There are so many ways to engage with and practice language at home, and we’re happy to help you develop a strategy to keep up the learning at home, but we do not assign homework.

How can we supplement the language learning at home?

Showing interest in your child’s language learning is the best way you can support them. Being motivated is one of the keys to language learning. Even if you don’t speak the language, you can read books together or watch movies together that are set in the target culture. You can also visit restaurants—or even plan future travel. You can look over the coursebook that your child brings home at the end of the unit and do the activities together. Using our unit storybooks is another good way to reinforce the language. If you speak the language, it’s fantastic to practice together. The more exposure and practice a student has with the language, the more progress they will make.   

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