But it wasn’t Shakira singing.
About two dozen kindergarten to second-grade students enrolled in the district’s Spanish and Chinese summer camp performed “Waka Waka” and other songs they’d learned using the Spanish they were taught this week.
The performance was part of a larger act that the kids prepared for their parents on the last day of camp.
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It also incorporated Chinese and American sign language.
During the afternoon session, third- to sixth-grade students gave a similar performance.
Assistant Superintendent Michelle Saylor said the weeklong world language camp was started this year to enhance the district’s language program.
“Some of the kids can bring to the camp what they learned through the year and they retain that language. It’s easy for them to learn at a young age because their brains are very receptive,” Saylor said. “I think the valuable thing is appreciation of something that’s different and beginning to understand different cultures.”
In kindergarten, the district offers Spanish and Chinese language classes. French classes begin in ninth grade, Saylor said.
Spanish teacher Amanda Dodson said that Chinese and Spanish are the two most spoken languages in the world; in the U.S., Spanish and Chinese are second and third, respectively.
“We’ve got new administrative support for our language programs,” Dodson said.
“We think it’s important for kids to learn.”
Those who learn a language before the age of 8 have a better chance of becoming fluent in the language, she said.
“Programs like this make us a competitive school district and enhance learning for our students,” Dodson said.
She said that each day included games, arts and crafts, and cooking activities based on Spanish and Chinese cultures. The children learned simple demands, letters, numbers, colors, fruits, animals, and how to count and to write characters in Chinese.
“They really got a taste of everything,” Saylor said.
On Friday, they put those activities to use.
One performance included using sign language while singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Another allowed the kids to use body language to count to 10 in Chinese. The day ended with a culinary session in which participants and guests tried Spanish flautas and Chinese wontons using chopsticks.
Brooke Whitman, 6, formed numbers with her body as the campers counted out Chinese numbers to a dance called “Number Kung Fu.”
But her favorite part of the language program was learning sign language, she said.
For parents, the program was a way to keep their kids’ brains active when school is out.
Emma Pyle-Lewis, 6, started learning Spanish in kindergarten last year at Marion-Walker Elementary School.
Her mother, Kaitlin Pyle, said her daughter enjoyed it so much that she had to go to camp this summer.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn,” Pyle said. “She’s like a sponge and sometimes comes home teaching us things.”
Saylor said administrators would evaluate and do what they can to enhance the program for the future.
“We think it’s successful so far,” Saylor said. “I’m excited to see what next year will bring.”
The program was partially funded by the Bellefonte Education Foundation and run by volunteer teachers, Saylor said.