By Kate Quesada

It is no secret that children of preschool age have brains like sponges, soaking up information everywhere, but did you know that the years before children turn seven are the best for them to start learning a foreign language? Baldwin Staring, director of Children’s Academy, which is opening a FishHawk location this month, is embracing this concept at the school offering Spanish immersion classes from infants to elementary aged students.

The 13,600 sq. ft. school is located off Browning Rd. in Lithia in the building that formerly housed the Lamb of God church. Many of the 12 classrooms and playground areas are newly renovated and the school also has 18 acres of property that Starling is planning to use for sports fields and other enrichment activities for students.

The majority of the school’s teachers are native Spanish speakers and students will be taught math, science, language arts, social studies and culture, physical education, fine art, music, theater and technology predominantly in the language.

“I have always desired to give my three children the opportunity to become bilingual or multilingual speakers,” said Starling, who opened Children’s Academy’s first location in Brandon in 2006. “I found that trying to teach them a second language was very hard and it wasn’t until I studied the idea of immersion, where students are actually immersed in the language and culture, that I saw all of the advantages it offers students.”

“We really feel a connection between parents and teachers is extremely important,” he said.

The school also employs a full-time chef who will provide fresh, hot and cold, nutritious breakfast, lunches and snacks to the students and will even offer meals for parents to purchase to take home and feed their families at the end of the day.

State-funded VPK classes are offered and before and after school care is available for elementary aged students with transportation from local public schools.

“Our goal is provide our students with a strong social, emotional and academic foundation in a warm and nurturing environment,” said Starling. “We believe learning a second language at a young age will give our students a global advantage in the future.”

Children’s Academy is located at 10560 Browning Rd. in Lithia, just a few minutes from FishHawk Ranch. Visit or call 737-7721 to schedule a tour.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.