Bilingual Children - Week #1

Our Bilingual Week

I'm starting a new series on Mammaprada. Every Wednesday I will give you a little insight into our bilingual learning. What has challenged us and which products we've found useful. There will be some interviews with others raising bilingual children, an expert in the subject or a creator of a product or service which helps us all in raising our children bilingually. 

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If there is an angle you would like me to cover please let me know! I'm happy to try and cover it or find someone who knows the answer! 

January - Week One

This week we are back home after spending Christmas away. It's been really beneficial to be in a different environment, you have so many new potential bits of vocabulary you can teach them. We've both read the children stories in English and Italian which we love and I really enjoyed reading my little ones 'Twas the night before Christmas' for the first time. They found it so exciting they didn't sleep until 2.30am on Christmas Eve! Not sure I will do that again! 

La Befana

I believe it's really important to learn about the country of your minority language and as many of its cultural practices and traditions as possible. In children and adults it can really deepen your desire to learn, increase your curiosity and add a fun element to learning. 

On 6th January Italians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. On the eve of the Epiphany an old lady or witch 'La Befana' is said to visit all the children of Italy and fill their stockings with sweets if they are good or coal if they are bad. Sound familiar? She is said to be a good housekeeper who sweeps the floor as she leaves and this will sweep away the troubles of the previous year! I'm definitely happy with this!

Due to this last festival Italians don't actually go back to school or work until 7th January and this is when all of the decorations are finally taken down. 

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Words of the day

Being home now has meant we are straight back to using our regular little bilingual routines to keep up the language immersion. 

Every day we stick an Italian word on the front door for our children to find. We then teach them how to pronounce it, what it means and we try and reinforce it throughout the day. This week the bilingual words have been these to the right>

Can you translate these into your minority language for your children? If you don't want to create them yourself you can buy Flashsticks post-its which have a word, the pronounciation and they're sticky so you can stick them to the objects they describe around your home. 

Activites: Thank you notes

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This year we spent Christmas with our English family. We alternate each year. So sadly we have not seen Nonno (Grandpa) yet! We've been spending some time this week with my Son (Now 5.5 years old) writing out his thank you notes in both English and Italian. We want to get these posted asap so Nonno knows we're thinking of him. Here's a little picture of my Son's note....

He has tried to write:

Grazie per tutto quello che hai fatto

Thank you for everything you have done Nonno.

You can see where he's spelling words how they sound to him:

Grasyi = Grazie, 

Pear = Per

Ai = Hai (Italians don't pronounce the 'H' hence why he hasn't written it). 

Ki = Che

As we live in the UK and my Son goes to school in London he is learning to read and write first in English and then we are teaching him how to do this in Italian. It's interesting to see how he interprets the sounds of the letters that sound very differently in each language. Common difficulties are the 'e' and 'i'. These are easy to mix up as an Italian 'e' is pronounced 'eh' and an 'i' pronounced 'ee'. 

Examples:

Uomini = Men

Pronounced 'U-o-me-ne'

Amore = Love

Pronounced 'A-mor-eh'

Think about the alphabet for your desired languages. Are there letters with very different sounds? Can you come up with some common words to concentrate on which have these letters? Try using these with your child and helping them with the pronunciation. 

Buon Anno Nuovo - Happy New Year

Did you enjoy this article on our Bilingual Week? Hopefully you will see there are little easy ways to incorporate language learning into everyday life. See you soon! Ci vediamo presto! 

Ciao ciao!

Kristie

Bambini Bilingue
Winnettes