Penobscot School in Rockland announces June programs for kids, covering four languages with native-speaking teachers.

Children in first -to seventh-grades are eligible to attend the series, which begins June 15. Various Saturday workshops cover the cultures or the languages of Latin America, Japan and China. Also included is an American Sign Language course, set on two consecutive Friday mornings.

Teaching the American Sign Language workshop is Marcie Howard, who earned her degree in elementary education in Canada and Maine. Since moving to the states, she has become a certified Signing Tim instructor. She and her American husband are raising three sons.

Studies show the benefits of ASL learning for hearing children include improved speaking and reading skills and self-esteem. For some children, learning to sign is also a social skills builder, especially in making friendships with hearing impaired peers. The ASL segments are Fridays, June 21 and 28, at 9:30 a.m. for first and second grades and 10:30 a.m. for third grade and up. The technique involves simultaneously singing and signing songs about topics important in a child's life. Children will also practice signing the alphabet.

Thomaston artist, Nobuko Kamecke, will teach Traditional Japanese Calligraphy Saturday, June 15, in two age groups. At 9:30 a.m. for first and second grades; at 10:30 a.m. for third grade and up. Participants will learn to use the traditional sable brush. These and all materials are supplied.

Kamecke was born in Japan, where she first studied with a master calligrapher. She attended the California Institute of the Arts, and has exhibited her work in galleries in California, New York, Manhattan and in Maine.

Taiwanese native, Yuan Yuan Wu Corson, is offering an introduction to Chinese language for third- to seventh-grade aged children on Saturday, June 22. Wu is a native Mandarin speaker with 21 years of teaching English to children in Taiwan. She was born in Miao-Li, Taiwan. She relocated to the states with her American husband in 2010, and has taught two semesters at Penobscot School. Her classes involve songs, games and crafts.

St. George resident, Nohora Estes will wind up the program with a two-hour Spanish cooking class for all ages in elementary school. En la Cocina con los Muchachos (In the kitchen with kids), runs Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m. to noon. Previous knowledge of Spanish is not required, but children will be encouraged to use their Spanish skills.

The class uses recipes from Estes' kitchen, and phrases from her Colombian heritage. Estes is Spanish teacher at The Riley School in Rockport, and she notes that this course also teaches healthy eating habits.

Penobscot School's June Programs for Kids is a pilot project, seeking to provide children with an interactive survey of selected world languages and their cultures. Community sponsors include Michael Ogden, Carpentry & Construction; Home Kitchen Cafe, Rockland, John Wagner, Arborist, Union, Marjorie Strauss Graphics, Rockland Rotary Club and the David and Eleanore Rukin Philanthropic Foundation.

Tuition to the workshops are listed on the website; financial aid is available for all courses. For more information, please call the school at 594-1084. Penobscot School, founded in Rockland in 1986, is a nonprofit center for language learning and international exchange, located at 28 Gay St.