Sonya Wilson, volunteer Spanish teacher, teaching preschoolers at Wilder Child Development Center

Spanish Lessons by Volunteer Sonya Wilson Enrich Learning at the Wilder Child Development Center


"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” While the origin of this quote is uncertain, Wilder volunteer Sonya Wilson embodies its spirit. Sonya, a Spanish teacher and business owner, provides pro bono Spanish language instruction to preschoolers at the Wilder Child Development Center.

Sonya is a Spanish teacher for preschool children and owner of One World Spanish. Tuesday through Friday, she takes her interactive curriculum to kids at preschools on various corporate campuses around the Twin Cities. She reserves Mondays for the Wilder Child Development Center, sharing her time and skills as a volunteer instructor since September 2023.


Spanish Language Lessons Contribute to a Vibrant Learning Environment

The Wilder Child Development Center offers high quality learning and care for children ages 16 months to 5 years in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul. The center focuses on recognizing and striving to meet the diverse needs, abilities, interests and cultures of children and their families. Nearly 75 percent of families at the center use the Child Care Assistance Program, early learning scholarships or other funding to pay their tuition.

Center staff develop and nourish relationships with community partners, volunteers and other resources that support students and families as they prepare for success in school and life. Staff continually seek new ways to help students learn and grow – including Spanish language lessons.

Students eagerly anticipate visits from “Ms. Sonya.” “It's exciting,” says Education Coordinator Chelsey Long. “She's got songs. She's got instruments. You know what I mean? It's kind of like a break from the routine.”

Sonya sees each preschool classroom separately, reserving time for a dedicated session with each room. In any given 15- to 20-minute gathering, a lesson might focus on the weather or some other common subject. One of the most popular activities is using play money to go “shopping” at Ms. Sonya’s “mercado.”

Spanish Language Instruction a Dream Come True

Volunteer Spanish teacher Sonya Wilson teaches students at Wilder Child Development Center.

Wilson started her business with a friend about 10 years ago. They both had Spanish degrees and had been working in marketing jobs as they began their families. Once their children were in school full time, the pair decided to launch their dream.

“All the people in my family, and her family, too, are educators,” Sonya says. “And so we kind of grew up around that.” She focuses on a younger audience because it’s fun, and preschoolers learn quickly. “I also like their malleable brains,” she says. “You can really see a lot of rewards.”

Sonya says volunteering at Wilder seems almost meant to be. With her business well established, she found she had extra time on her hands. She started looking for volunteer opportunities. “And the very first thing that popped up,” she says, “was that Wilder preschool was looking for a Spanish teacher.” 

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