SALSA blends puppets, animation, live action and
music to create a unique experience for first-time learners of Spanish
language and culture. The series spices up learning by creating a visually
exciting production, complete with funny characters that children can
enjoy, in situations they can quickly recognize and understand. SALSA
also portrays the rich variety and heritage of Hispanic culture.
Children are immersed in the traditional music, colorful attire and social
customs that make up SALSA. It was developed by a team of
educators, award-winning producers and curriculum experts. An advisory
board of nationally recognized experts in the fields of foreign
language education and early childhood development continues to guide
and shape the series. Produced, distributed and operated by Georgia Public Broadcasting, SALSA is highly regarded by educators and students across the country.
- Brief English/Spanish introduction for teachers and students
- 30 units with 15-minute Spanish-only segments for students
- 12 units with 30- Spanish-only segments for students
- Based on traditional children's stories like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"
- Combination of puppets, animation and live field production
Benefits for Hispanic Children
While SALSA is designed for all children, it has special benefits for the Hispanic child. One of the most exciting results of the data gathered from SALSA in the classroom is a marked increase in participation by Hispanic children. Over and over again, Hispanic children who were a minority in their classrooms moved from being reserved to participatory when SALSA became part of their classroom experience. Suddenly, the Spanish-speaking children were the "experts," helping classmates and even their teachers with vocabulary and pronunciation. For many Hispanic children, SALSA is an affirming and confidence-building experience.
Testing and Evaluation
As evidence of how innovative and imaginative SALSA is in introducing Spanish language and culture, the series was selected for inclusion in the Iowa Nebraska Technology Challenge Grant. This $6.5-million study was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and among other elements evaluated the use of technology-driven foreign language instruction. The study was conducted over five years. GPB Education recognizes the importance of continuing evaluation. A recently completed study by the Division of Educational Studies, Emory University, reports that children enjoy SALSA whether they watch it in school, in an after-school program or at home. Children especially enjoy the opportunity to learn Spanish; the animated character, Salsa; and the use of familiar stories, humor and repetition. Educators described SALSA as "superior" to other educational video programs designed for this age viewing audience.
The Emory study also revealed that SALSA nurtures cultural appreciation. SALSA portrays Hispanic people and cultures positively and non-Hispanic children gained appreciation of and respect for Hispanic people and cultures. Hispanic children gained increased self-esteem and cultural pride and the series promoted interaction between non-Hispanic and Hispanic children. One teacher commented that "[My] students are not familiar with other cultures... SALSA has been a wonderful multi-cultural experience for the students."
In addition, SALSA helped children acquire core Spanish vocabulary and
reinforced the skills of children with a prior knowledge of Spanish.
Children used Spanish vocabulary in other contexts. The series also helped Spanish-speaking children learn English and exposed teachers to core Spanish words and phrases. One child said, "[SALSA] gave Hispanic families a show for their families to see."
- Gold Apple, National Educational Media Network, Apple Awards, 1999.
- 1st Place Award for Children's Programming, U.S. International Film and Video Festival, 1998.
- 3rd Place Certificate for Educational Programming, U.S. International Film and Video Festival, 1998.
- Emmy Award (Southern Region): Educational Program, 1998.
- Emmy Award (Southern Region): Scenic Designer, 1998.
- Emmy Award (Southern Region): Graphic Arts, 1998.
- Emmy Award (Southern Region): Director, 1998.
- Parents' Choice Recommended Seal, 1998.
- Honorable Mention for Children's Programming, National Education Telecommunications Association, 1998.
- CINE Golden Eagle Award, 1998.
- Certificate of Merit for Children's Programs, Chicago International Television Competition, 1999.