Heritage Language Programs - German

Sanne’s German Works

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Address: 5531 Spring Hill Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Telephone: (734) 668-2491

Web address: http://www.sannesgermanworks.com

Contact person:

Name: Sanne Krummel

Title: Director

Address: 5531 Spring Hill Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Email: info@sannesgermanworks.com

Telephone: (734) 668-2491

Levels: PreK-K, Grades 1-12

Languages/dialects taught: German

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: Our purposes are to teach the language of German to children as a foreign language was well as continue advancement in German for children who are heritage speakers of German, and therefore, already bilingual. These objectives are reached through play, song, art, theatre, grammar, and more. German culture is included whenever applicable. Parents and other family members are encouraged to participate, with the hopes of building additional support and friendships. This program hopes to build a lifelong love for languages (particularly German) and to increase understanding and tolerance of people and their differences.

Type of program: The program is divided into two sections, one geared toward German-speaking families (immersion program) and one geared toward children who are learning the language as foreigners (foreign language program). The heritage section meets once a week in the evening. Sessions are content- and play-based (age-appropriate) with the inclusion of reading and writing for the older children.

Program origin: The immersion program was founded in 1997 by two German mothers who moved to the United States to find and help others in the same situation.


Parents’ expectations for the program: The primary expectation is for their children to continue to enjoy speaking and learning German. Parents of the bilingual children are all looking for other children and families with whom they can interact in German. They are avoiding having their children lose German and are looking for ways for them to continue their German education (including reading and writing). German culture is also a very important factor.


Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: There are no official staff other than Sanne Krummel (director of the program). Bilingual parents are asked to volunteer to lead small groups during weekly meetings.


• First-generation immigrants (10%)
• Second-generation immigrants (60%)
• Third-generation immigrants (30%)
• Children of interethnic marriages (40%)

Countries of origin: Germany, Austria, USA

Total student enrollment: 35

How the program determines the language background and language proficiency of students: There is no formal means of assessment. However, to measure proficiency, students are observed during age-appropriate activities. New families participate in an informal interview.

Percentage of students who complete the program: This program does not have an official completion age or grade. Families stay until they decide it is no longer a priority for them or the child.

Percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program: Although it is difficult to express because of the novelty of the programs, from the bilingual program many families move back to Germany.

Possible reasons for student withdrawal: Some of them move back to Germany. Others drop out because they enroll in other activities in middle school and high school.

Students’ attitudes toward the language varieties they speak: Students are delighted knowing a second or third language because this is considered a special skill. Moreover, having other children who also speak German makes them feel part of a club. As a result, parents frequently set up meetings outside the official program for children to play together.


Number of instructors in the program: One official and many volunteers

Languages in which instructors are proficient: German and English

Credentials: BA in Speech/Language Pathology; MA in Speech/Language Pathology for Early Childhood Education with emphasis on Second Language Acquisition

Professional development opportunities instructors have: Conferences and journals

Additional comments: Guest teachers are used whenever possible, such as visitors from Germany, exchange students, etc.


Total contact hours per week: 1

Times per week: 1

Student grouping: Students are grouped by ability, which is frequently also by age.

Hours devoted to language teaching: 60% of the time

Hours devoted to culture teaching: approximately 40% of the time

Language skills

Heritage language skills: The main four skills are developed (listening, speaking, reading, and writing)

Levels of language proficiency reached by the end of the program: As there is not an official ending for the program, students continue learning until they decide to drop out. For instance, some “older” children (high-school) help with the instruction of younger ones.


Aspects of culture taught: Geography, history, festivals, customs, traditions and beliefs, folktales, arts and crafts, songs, rhymes, social and cultural norms, and literature


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: The methodologies used for this program are play-based and content-based.


Textbooks: Werkstatt Deutsch als Zweitsprache (A through D) – intermittently 2003 Schroedel Verlag

Other materials used for instruction: Self-made materials such as games or other books donated or purchased individually

Technology used for instruction: Children middle-school age are able to write web pages, make movies, and edit them on iMovie.


Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress: Students are evaluated through teacher’s observations and non-standardized instruments, such as student self-assessment.


Connections with other institutions: Local high schools

How the program develops home/school connections or promotes parent involvement: Bilingual children’s parents are always present and serve as volunteers.

Opportunities for using the heritage language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: Most of the students have at least one German-speaking parent to practice with outside the program.

What the program has in place

Financial support the program receives: Tuition and parents

Solicitation of funding: A volunteer parent takes care of soliciting funding.

Assistance or funding the program would like to receive: Advertising, primarily on the Internet

Special challenges

Challenges the program has experienced: enrollment

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