Get to know more about Lingotot West Oxford’s Founder, Catherine
Posted: Thu, Mar 25, 2021 10:53 AM
We have been chatting to Catherine who recently founded Lingotot West Oxford. Lingotot West Oxford offers French, Italian and Spanish lessons in a variety of settings across West Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds - community classes, nurseries and preschools, KS1 and KS2 provision in schools alongside lunch and after school clubs. Read on to find out a bit more about Catherine.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself
My passion for languages started at a young age with holidays throughout Europe, my parents paid for us to have language lessons before every trip which we then put to practise in the local boulangerie or ordering a beer for Dad!! I went on to graduate with a degree in French and Italian, with periods living overseas in both countries. After an extended period globetrotting I began a successful career in the travel industry for many years, during this time I took a break and returned to Sardinia to reconnect with the Italian language and culture. Here I taught English to people of all ages and backgrounds in private and public sector locations. This is when I caught the bug for teaching and on return to the UK in 2013 I continued working within the travel industry but missed those classroom days incredibly. Family followed shortly, and then Covid-19 struck and redundancy from the industry, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate and reconnect with what I’ve enjoyed most during my working career – combining teaching with a passion for language learning, and the inevitable cultural benefits that stem from this.
Where did you hear about Lingotot?
I first discovered Lingotot when I was on maternity leave with my second child, Alberto. I was desperate to be involved as there is little provision for young children in my immediate community but unfortunately with two children under five at the time it wasn’t the right time financially. Fast forward to a post Covid-19 world and with my children growing up it now seemed the perfect time to take the leap and indulge my passion.
What attracted you to their classes?
For me when my two children were very young I couldn’t find anything language based for my children, as their father is Italian and with me speaking two languages I felt there was an opportunity to bring language classes to my community. Within the North Cotswolds where I am based there is limited infrastructure for mums and dads with young children, and into West Oxfordshire where there is more available there was still an opportunity to bring languages into the baby and toddler landscape and add more variety for mums. I love that the classes combine songs, nursery rhymes and games that the children and parents are familiar with which makes it even easier for children to pick up the new language. Lessons are so dynamic, interactive and fun, and more importantly children pick up and are able to use the language very quickly, after the first lesson. I am extremely passionate about children learning languages and the indirect collateral benefits this brings – from cultural appreciation to assisting with literacy and problem solving and helping them build confidence and social skills. It really is never too young to start learning a language and my children are able to sing some of the songs in Italian, French and Spanish after just a couple of lessons – they love it so I’m sure other children will too.
When did you launch your business/ any details about your business?
I am launching Lingotot West Oxford in the Easter holidays with an extra-curricular activity club full of fun activities – forest school, team challenges, games, songs and stories will all feature as part of our daily plan, along with a couple of extra surprises! I will then be launching in the summer term with community classes for 0-5s in the North Cotswolds, Carterton and Witney. Details can be found here or contact email@example.com to be added to the mailing list for details of class launches.
I am also beginning to work with primary schools and nurseries in the area as restrictions lift offering after school and other extra-curricular activities, alongside helping schools recover from lockdown and help deliver PPA cover for their modern foreign language provision so that their children are able to catch up.
What is your favourite thing about running a Lingotot business?
Having spent many years in the corporate world for me the freedom of making my own decisions and seeing the direct impact this has on my business and customers is exhilarating. It’s important for me that my children grow up with a strong female role model so seeing their mum happy in running her own business is a huge motivation. And of course helping children find the connection with language learning and seeing babies bounce along and do the actions to songs, and older children speaking the language after just one lesson, it’s beyond rewarding!
Find out more about Lingotot West Oxford here or contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have been inspired by Catherine’s Lingotot journey you can find out more about joining the Lingotot family here.