This L.A. Mom Opened a Kids' Spanish Social Club to Help Us Raise Socially Aware Global Citizens

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From Mexico to Culver City

Chiqui Social officially opened its doors to reveal L.A.’s first-ever curated Spanish learning studio and social club for kids and families in Culver City’s burgeoning Arts District neighborhood.

Founder and mom of two, Lizet Alvarez, created this unique space that artfully blends style, design and language incorporated with modern education. 

“Our goal for the Spanish immersion program is for your chiquitos (little ones) to develop a lifelong ability to communicate with people from other cultures, countries, and backgrounds and to expand their educational, professional, and social opportunities,” says Alvarez.

It’s estimated that Spanish is spoken by 559 million people around the world, including 470 million native speakers and Spanish is among the most-studied languages in the world.

Alvarez believes that as the world becomes more connected through technological advances, “it’s becoming increasingly obvious that learning another language is beneficial for many reasons— to advance your career, be able to communicate with more people, make traveling more enjoyable and expand your cultural horizons. What may not be as obvious are the cognitive benefits that take place when you are learning a foreign language, especially for kids seven years and under,” she says.

Chiqui Social breaks down its learning studio into four core subject pillars: Culinary Arts, Music, Science, and Creative Arts — allowing children from 6 months to 10 years find activities that align with their personal interests and curiosities.

Chiqui Social also offers event space with services ranging from children’s birthdays and baby showers, to mommy meet-up groups and a community space.

“Chiqui Social aims to be an inclusive space regardless of language(s) spoken at home, and a place to bring a community of families and educators together to act as a platform for positive social change,” says Alvarez.

The social club also hosts monthly events, including its already popular Hora Feliz (Happy Hour) every first Friday of the month, where parents, kids, and siblings can socialize as tunes play. The chiquitos are supervised by party hosts while adults catch up with friends, eat tacos, and enjoy a BYOB atmosphere. 

To tie in Alvarez’s Mexican heritage with the 2,000 square foot space, she recently unveiled a small specialty shop nestled at the front of Chiqui Social that offers hand-chosen children’s pieces and thoughtfully curated items purchased from Mexico. The shop features hand-woven blankets in muted colors, chic baby bibs, colorful Mexican rag dolls and age-appropriate books that enable parents to continue the language learning at home. 

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Design

Chiqui Social is reflective of the eclectic eye of Lizet Alvarez, with several touches of nostalgia that are close to her heart. Colorful hand-woven artistic light fixtures, a massive ever-changing balloon arch, and the addition of a small-scale living wall add to the cheeky and playful nature of the space. With a fully gated grass patio, the studio offers a spot for kids to play, learn, and enjoy L.A.’s weather in the fresh air. A full modern kitchen acts as a space for students to actively participate in the culinary arts. To top it off, an organic dinner is served to students participating in the 3-hour after-school session. Chiqui Social is intended to be a welcoming, approachable place for students and families to comfortably explore the Spanish language and culture. 

More About Lizet Alvarez

Lizet Alvarez is a native Angeleno, heritage Spanish-speaker, and mother of 2 chiquitos. The idea for Chiqui Social came from her desire to ensure her children were exposed to Spanish at an early age in a fun and inviting way. Growing up in L.A. with Mexican parents, she heard Spanish everywhere and didn’t realize not everyone spoke Spanish until she started kindergarten. When it was time to put her kids into a more structured learning environment, she knew she wanted Spanis learning to be at the core. As a second generation household, Alvarez was all too aware that she and her family needed additional support outside the home to ensure they remained a dual-language household.

To her surprise, she found limited options available for families trying to incorporate Spanish into their kids’ everyday lives. She realized she was looking to find a broader community where Spanish was encouraged and celebrated regardless of skill level. Alvarez started to put ideas together, and spoke to as many experts in the field of early childhood education and dual language learning as she could. Finally, the time came to leave an esteemed 15 year career in publishing, most recently at Univision and Condé Nast to make her vision a reality. Chiqui Social is a heartfelt blend of all things that inspire her— kids, Spanish Immersion, and community.

Anabel Marquez