We caught up with Helen Jones from ‘Lingotot’ for our latest ‘Ambassador Spotlight’, find out about this excellent business below!
Can you tell me what your organisation does?
The children’s language franchise Lingotot teaches fun and interactive classes to children aged 0-12 across the UK and Ireland, as well as offering confidence-building Lingochat conversation classes for adults. I, Helen Jones, own ‘Lingotot Redcar’ and we are able to offer a wide range of French, Spanish and German classes and activities throughout Redcar and Cleveland.
We use songs, stories, games and crafts to engage children with their language learning from an early age. Their knowledge of key vocabulary, as well as their communication and social skills, develop and progress from day one, whilst they are playing and having fun! Our lunchtime, after-school, and holiday clubs allow our learners to explore the language further and we have a new theme each week.
Adults are also able to learn and practise a language in a friendly and relaxed environment, we have beginner’s language classes for French, Spanish and German, called ‘Lingochat’. Our adult learners sessions are more relaxed with no exam structure in place, and our conversation classes are a lovely way to get talking to new people, or can be arranged for a group of friends or family who would like to improve their language skills.
I’m also planning a ‘Holiday Essentials’ group of lessons for people who are interested in learning practical language for using during a break abroad!
Can you tell me the best thing about your organisation?
I love the variety of classes on offer with Lingotot, not just the different languages, but we have so many games and creative activities, and I teach to such a wide age-range, no two days are the same! I currently have baby and toddler community classes; run classes in nurseries; teach in Primary Schools; organise holiday activity clubs and hold adult beginner’s conversation classes.
I’ve been able to meet and work with lots of new people see them enjoy their language learning. Seeing the babies and toddlers understand and react to a new language is always magical, and helping our older children and adults progress and value their learning is really rewarding. The structure of the classes lets our learners develop individually too, it’s a really nice way to work!
What is the proudest achievement in your career?
I taught French, German and Spanish for 15 years at a secondary school in Sheffield, it would have been easy to stay in my comfort zone, so I am so proud of taking the leap and setting up my own business. Although I miss so many of my old pupils and colleagues, I now employ 3 brilliant part-time staff and have been made to feel really welcome by local schools, parents, children and the Redcar business community.
I’ve had some fantastic feedback about how the children have enjoyed their classes and what they are able to say in French or Spanish when they get home; I love the speed of learning in children, they soak everything up and have so much enthusiasm! The first time that I had returning customers felt like a huge achievement, I’m so grateful for the support and that people are happy to come to our classes.
What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
I’m really looking forward to our Summer Holiday Clubs, during July and August we will be running half and full days in Saltburn, Brotton, Marske, Guisborough and Redcar for children aged 5-11. Our theme this year is ‘summer adventure’ and we will be learning language about the seaside, pirates, rainbows and magical creatures. The clubs are always so much fun! We have lots of different language activities and games, crafts, songs and stories.
In the next year, I would love to build further links and partnerships with local primary schools, nurseries and businesses to increase our offer of classes and clubs. It would be amazing to help local children discover and explore different languages and cultures with what we do!
I’m really happy that there are lots of possibilities and opportunities to explore across our region, eventually we are looking to work in as much of Redcar and Cleveland as possible, as well as the North York Moors and Whitby.
What would you say is the best thing about Redcar and Cleveland?
I love being so near to the coast! Sheffield is a bit land-locked, so I’m still really happy that I get to finish work and then find a café near the sea front for a coffee before I head home.
There’s so much going on, and there are so many excellent restaurants and places to visit, I hope I can do a lot more exploring over the summer. I’m really glad that there are so many festivals and events, I took part (very slowly) in the running festival last year, and enjoyed seeing the cycling in the autumn as well as taking a trip to Redcar Races.
I’ve been really happy to find so many small and independent businesses in the area too. There’s a really vibrant, creative streak running through Redcar and Cleveland, and I’ve met so many local people through social media, at fairs and business events that have fantastic, inventive businesses. I’ve also found that the support is here, with so many people willing to help small businesses succeed. I’ve participated in my first networking events, and some great training run by EMS. My background is not in the business world, so it has been really valuable to have people to talk to and who are ready to offer advice and guidance.
So many people have helped me and my business to get going this year, I really appreciate the huge amount of kindness that has come my way from this fantastic community!
Be sure to check them out here!
Facebook: Lingotot Redcar
Email address: email@example.com