Classes offered at the Santa Monica German School location
4 – 5 year old students
Introduction to the German language and culture in three steps:
1. Working on oral comprehension
2. Motivating students to speak achieved through games, songs, crafts and
additional fun activities
3. Progression in writing and reading
6 – 8 year old students
The focus is on expanding vocabulary and verbal skills through age appropriate topics and a variety of activities. With the introduction to basic German grammar, writing skills will also be promoted. A1 Testing starts.
Unterstufe II / Mittelstufe:
9 – 12 year old students
Emphasis on vocabulary enrichment and development of writing and grammar skills in preparation for A2 Testing.
(School Principal / Kindergarten Teacher)
Birgit emigrated from Germany after earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Ludwigs-Maximilians Universität München. She is fluent in German, English and French.
With experience in film as a producer and director of short films, she also worked as an editor for a German newspaper in Los Angeles and is an accomplished public speaker.
Birgit believes in giving back to the community. She is actively involved in multiple charities including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She is also an avid athlete and has competed and finished in four Nautica Malibu Triathlons.
She joined GASA in 2019 as a substitute teacher and has taken on the mantle of School Principal and Kindergarten Teacher for the 2019-2020 school year (and hopefully much longer).
Her experience with kids stem from leading children groups at her local church in Germany. Throughout her life she helped kids to grow and to support them in their natural curiosity to understand their world.
She loves to teach German in a playful and interactive way via storytelling, songs, rhymes, role play plus fun arts and crafts projects.
Patricia Riefenstein (Unterstufe I)
Munich born Patricia Riefenstein studied creative writing, directing and acting in Germany and the US. As a private German tutor, she has taught many students between the age of 4 up to 14. Patricia involves art, movement, storytelling, and play into her teaching to motivate her students.
Patricia has a deep knowledge of German, Austrian, and Swiss history, culture and art, which she applies age appropriate in her lessons. She lives with her husband and their 14 year old son in Los Angeles.
Yvonne Bamberger (Oberstufe)
Yvonne grew up in a small town near Frankfurt, Germany. After her “Abitur” she studied English (ESL), Spanish and French at Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen to become a language teacher. During her studies, she spent two semesters in Granada, Spain. After her student teaching, she worked in grades 5-13 teaching English and Spanish at a “Gymnasium” in Schwalbach am Taunus until August 2013, when she moved to L.A. with her husband. Since arriving in L.A., she has worked at the Santa Monica Language Academy, Redondo Union High School, for GASA, and Goethe/GASA Alumni. She currently holds the California Teaching Credentials for German, ESL and Spanish. Yvonne’s teaching methods develop all four language competences (listening, reading, speaking, writing) simultaneously, and she has lots of experience in preparing students for the DSD I (B1 level) and DSD II (C1 level).
She has a young daughter and in her free time loves to be with her family, to travel the world, and to visit friends and family in Germany.
Petra Wise (Substitute Teacher)
Petra was born and raised in the South of Germany. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and has taught High School and College students since 1995. Petra has worked at the Santa Monica Branch of GASA since 2003. In the classroom she tries to implement all learning options, visual, auditory and through practical work. She also likes to introduce the students to classic German characters.
Multilingualism is the norm in most of the world and we believe that children who speak and write more than one language will be better prepared for life in the 21st century with its growing global economy. The best way to master another language is to start learning at an early age.