Argentina native, Maria Ure (Pellet Lastra), has spent over three decades spreading her passion and expertise in teaching Spanish to inspire students to love learning the language without effort. All while enjoying the process and connecting with the Latin culture.
in Manhattan Beach
When Maria moved from Argentina to the United States in 1986, she was disheartened to discover that American students did not have the same language learning experience as she had with English and French when growing up in Buenos Aires.
A foreign language student herself, one of the things that most impacted her were teachers who passionately poured out their hearts to bridge the cultural gap, teaching non-native speakers how to embrace the language with their heart, mind, body, and soul.
Learning was fun, engaging, unique, and cultivated an environment that transported her to the streets of France, England, and the United States, without ever leaving the classroom. This experience became a crucial factor in Maria’s love for learning and teaching languages.
Maria observed that in the United States, children were not excited about learning Spanish through the formality of grammar, vocabulary, or sentence structure, nor were they connecting with the Latin culture – a crucial component of learning a new language. She found that most students had had such a poor experience learning Spanish in high school and college that they were graduating without the ability to produce simple sentences or original thoughts, and they also carried very heavy accents. Learning Spanish was hard and non-attainable.
A new way of teaching languages
Maria saw a dire need for a fun, educational program that captured kids’ attention and inspired learning at an early age. So she developed a radically different approach to teaching and launched her signature program in 1986—Spanish in Action.
As she continued developing her curriculum, Maria partnered with many prestigious Montessori schools, after-school programs, and elementary schools while also teaching students from her home. She was determined to teach Spanish by cultivating a love for learning the language and culture. She wanted her students to feel the same fire and eagerness to learn languages as she felt when learning English and French as a young girl.
In the community
To this day, there are only a handful of other teachers in Los Angeles with as many decades of experience and love for teaching Spanish as Maria Ure. Since the inception of Spanish in Action, she has taught over 7,000 students in schools, first from her home and then from her learning center. And her passion continues growing deeper: In 2020, Maria expanded her School of Language for Children in Manhattan Beach, CA, by offering online learning to students anywhere else in the world.
Maria is proud to have organically grown her Spanish in Action Program through decades of hard work and genuine passion. It has become a gem in the community and the leading School of Language for Kids in the South Bay area of Los Angeles—serving more than 170 students in small groups each year.
"I'm grateful for the support I've received from the South Bay community through the years,"
says Maria, who continues to look for ways to strengthen her program.
"I guarantee your kids will walk away not only having learned Spanish but also having had a new, different, and positive experience of language learning and bilingual self-expression."
She hopes her language school allows students worldwide to learn Spanish in a fun and engaging way for years to come, whether that’s in-person, online, and through SIA’s original songs.
A Personal Note
Maria is the proud mother of three biliterate adult children who are first-generation Argentineans in the United States. She believes in making a difference by being a person of integrity in all areas of life, influencing her students by teaching with passion, leading by example, and lovingly supporting them and their families in all possible ways.