In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we thought we’d share a little bit about Eliza’s Spanish classes with you.
We enrolled E in Spanish with the The Language Workshop for Children at the Kid’s Club when she was 2. Why so early? Some research suggests that it is easier to learn a second language early on when the language centers of the brain are developing. Kids who become bilingual early on also have an easier time picking up other languages later in life. Not only will knowing multiple languages help Eliza become more competitive in the business world later in life, it also introduces her to concepts of globalization and tolerance. It was a hard concept to get down that people in different places or in different cultures speak differently. It was also hard to get her to understand that she speaks English and not “normal”. Hah!
E’s teachers use the Thibaut Technique– a full immersion, no-translation method that helps kids learn to actually think in the language that they are learning. So they listen first, then understand, then start to speak. Eliza goes into her classes alone now, but when she was a toddler we went in with her. Even then, she really did understand instructions and basic vocabulary like colors. They learn through games, songs, crafts, and play, so Eliza has always looked forward to Spanish class every week. I can always get her to go to bed without any fuss at all on Friday nights because she knows she has to wake up early on Saturday for class.
We’re pretty amazed with how much she’s learned. She can still understand more than she can speak, but she gets super excited when she hears someone speaking Spanish when we’re out and about. She jumps on the chance to use her knowledge in the real world and boldly uses the few phrases at her disposal.
The classes seem a little pricey for 45 minutes a week, but the kids also get a new CD with fun Spanish songs and a workbook each session. The workbooks are themed so each session has new vocabulary and Eliza learns a ton at home as well as in class. We’ve had to miss a few sessions over the years for financial reasons, but we just use her materials to keep her familiar with the language. And she doesn’t skip a beat if she has to miss a season.
It is also nice for her to get to hang out with kids her own age. Eliza’s never been to day care, so Spanish class has been a way for her to make friends with kids that aren’t her cousins. They all love playing on the playground after class together.
Funny story. Jake and I speak French, not Spanish. Sometimes I talk to myself in French. I think it’s because I like to keep talking so that Jonas is stimulated. At least when I’m yapping on in French I’m exercising my vocabulary. Anywho, I was babbling about making a cake (“Je veux faire un gâteau, mon petit chou. Faut-il manger le gâteau, le bébé?”) when Eliza yells, “Mom, we don’t eat cats!” Because the word for cake in French (gâteau) sounds like the word for cat (gato) in Spanish. LOLOLOL I had no idea that she understood any French at all until that little mix up.
If you want full immersion type language learning as an adult, we recommend Rosetta Stone software. It uses pictures to teach you instead of having you translate from English. It is AWESOME!
*P.S. We’re just telling you about the class because we love it. We are in no way sponsored by the LWFC.
P.P.S. If we have any Spanish speaking readers out there, we’d love to know the names of some of your favorite children’s movies, TV shows, and books!