Teaching your kids a new language, by Veronica Braun (Hola Playgroup)
Learning a new language is a complex process, and while it’s an enriching experience at any age, children have the most gain from this great adventure!
Here are a few tips that I have seen throughout my 12 years of experience while interacting and developing the ¡HOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish programs:
1. Start a new language Early
2. Immersion in a new language is possible even if the parents are mono-lingual!
Create an environment for immersion: Parents should take an active and interactive role in their child’s language learning, becoming a sort of “play partner”, dedicating time to talk to and practice in the language they want to teach. Use as many resources available to you, even if you are monolingual, such as involving the child in language play groups, where they get so much more than just the language, they also have an opportunity to expand cognitive abilities, learn social skills, among many other benefits.
3. Explore in your new language!
Provide a multi-sensory, natural approach, which is best for young children: It allows the child to experience a concept or idea while playing and learning, using all parts of their whole, brain and body through hands-on play and exploration. Many games and books offer a dual-language option.
Be patient, but consistent: Let the learning take place out and inside the home. If your child is a baby, face to face interaction facilitates overall language development. If your child attends a weekly class or play group, try to get involved in what they learned and practice, complement with as many resources as possible: through music, videos, games, educational toys, and of course through literacy. Language learning is a process, and once you expose your child, continue well into their growing years consistently.
5. Reward effort!
Show your child your praise and enthusiasm for their efforts!
Veronica Braun runs Hola Playgroup in NYC:
¡HOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish was created to give a space to enter the fun and exciting world of the Spanish language. Our classes are taught through the use of verbal input (visual and auditory), which includes original and traditional music, games, props, art, movement, free play and literacy, engaging the child in a multi-sensory learning process. Both teacher led and free activities form a part of our structured classes and we encourage children to interact and discover many aspects of the world around them.