The McKinney couple enrolled their daughter and son in Spanish Schoolhouse in Frisco, which opened in 1999.
“I was trying to find a way to get an infusion of culture and language to my kids, and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own,” Ann said. “For me, Spanish was always a language of love, a language of caring because it was something my grandparents spoke.”
Their children thrived at the school as they learned Spanish through games, songs and talking with the other kids.
The year their son was graduating from the preschool, Spanish Schoolhouse began offering franchise opportunities.
Although Rafael and Ann were both engineers and neither had owned a business or worked in the education field, they made the decision to be one of the first five franchisees because of their personal experience with Spanish Schoolhouse.
In 2009, they opened Spanish Schoolhouse in McKinney.
Their first year, the Spanish immersion preschool started with 12 students. This year, they started the school year with 135 students.
The staff are all native Spanish speakers who originate from different Latin American countries such as Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Spain and more.
Student ages range from 18-months to 4 years old. They are comprised of 80% non-Spanish speaking families, 10-15% have one Spanish speaking parent at home but don’t predominately speak Spanish and 5-10% of the families are native Spanish speakers, and they speak Spanish at home.
When students arrive at school, Spanish immersion begins with greetings of “Buenos Dias” and “¿Cómo estás?” In their classrooms, they focus on essential preschool curriculum such as fine and gross motor skills, pre-math, pre-science and language.
“One parent said it best: ‘I love it because my kid gets the basics and the cherry on top is that they learn it in a different language,’” Ann said.
Spanish Schoolhouse McKinney Campus
2421 Virginia Parkway, McKinney
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Editor's note: This article has been edited to correct the spelling of Colombia.