Our Bilingual Week
This week we are back to sharing Our Bilingual Week with you, what we've been working on and our observations of our children's learning.
As we learnt last week from our mothers of bilingual children. Learning a language is about more than words. When you share your language with your child, you're sharing your heritage too. It's often hard to infuse the culture of the minority language in to your every day life but there are little ways to do this.
We've found it's really beneficial and a very good motivator for children to learn more about the country where their minority language is spoken. Activities where you focus on this creates less pressure on words and they don't realise they are learning or absorbing anything about the minority language.
This week we've done our annual Venice Carnival celebrations even though we were at home in London. Think about what events happen in your country (Of the minority language) each month and create a list. You can then plan when you can fit something into a playdate or a nice meal together at the weekend. Maybe you can bake something together or do some crafts around the topic of that particular celebration.
For example when we celebrate Venice carnival we make 'Chiacchiere' a sweet treat particular to this time of year in Italy. We make masks together. I show the children YouTube videos of the celebrations and we talk about how in Venice people travel by water and not roads. Even the fire service. It fosters a curiosity about the country and an awareness of how places and customs can differ. My children always love it when I turn the coffee table upside down and make it into a goldola! I'm sure they think I've gone mad, but they love it!
Try to think how you could incorporate some of your country's customs and special dates into your lives at home.
Words of the day
This week we've focused on foods where there are several different words to learn around that one item.
My children love eggs! So week we've been teaching them a different word every day depending how they are cooked.
It sounds simple but these types of word groupings are actually very practical and quick ways for you to be able to have conversations with your children quite early in their language learning journey.
When you start to have conversations together, they will be quite basic, based on what you're doing right then in that moment or what they would like. So giving them the words to tell you what they would like for breakfast for example is really useful.
Activites: Board Games
This week we've been using board games to help the children learn through play.
These are great for all sorts of learning not just languages. If you have a child struggling with maths or about to start school. Some games such as snakes and ladders for example can be great for early recognition of numbers and basic addition and subtraction.
You can use them for language learning by helping them learn numbers from one to ten to begin with. Encouraging counting but also think about movement words such as 'forwards', 'backwards' to have to 'start again'. 'Ready, steady, go'. Phrases such as 'Who won?'. 'Did you win?' can all be emphasised.
We've used Scrabble this week to create our own game where all words have to be in the minority language, Italian. The original Scrabble rule book is thrown out. This is a time where you don't want to discourage them just help them spell out words using their knowledge of the sounds. If they get some wrong you can steer them towards to the correct letters and repeat the words so they can visualise where that missing letter was needed.
Start with short words. It should be fun, and can be silly. The words don't need to link at this stage you can just use this method to get them inspired.
Buon Mercoledi - Happy Wednesday!
I hope you found some of these tips and insights useful about our Bilingual Week? What have you tried this week and have you had any challenges? Behind the scenes I'm working on some extra resources to help you all on your language learning journey. Hopefully they will be with you very soon!
See you soon! Ci vediamo presto!