Gosh that is so encouraging Marie! My (monolingual) mother is coming to visit us for a week in a few days, and I'm hoping that my daughter will have a similar reaction. I'm not sure that she's really there yet but it will be better than nothing!
What is the profile of the other kids in your daughter's school?
Great ideas Amy, thanks! Do you know whether i's possible to buy things like Caracola in Paris?
Tracey - gosh I am beginning to realise that there are so many TV shiws out there that I barely know, if at all! I have a vague idea of what Peppa Pig is but have never heard of Paw Patrol ☺️ - so much awaiting me haha!
Oh Amy, I'm so sorry to hear this! I also underline what Mayken said - it is NOT your fault. It's actually quite possible that they did not take her purely because your 'on-paper' nationality is not an English-speaking one - even if in practice you are an Anglophone. I have a Korean friend whose daughter was recently refused admission to a bilingual pre-school because 'on paper' she was not Anglophone, even if English is basically her first language (similar upbringing to you). They like to keep their statistics up...
There ARE other options out there. As regards babysitters, they are subsidised by the government (CAF) so not as expensive as I had initially imagined, once you take into account the deduction (my daughter will be doing Wednesday afternoons with a Spanish-language babysitter next year). Also, I would really encourage you to join Message as there are regular activities run for English-speaking children and obviously tons of English-speaking parents. I know you are not directly in Paris, but perhaps there are activities taking place close by? If you want to do a test run on the forum to see whether you think it's worth paying the membership fees to join up, let me know. Oh! And there is also a facebook page called "English-speaking mums in Paris" that sometimes posts activities for kids taking place.
I will also be more than happy to take your daughters off your hands for some extra English time once I'm settled in ☺️
I'm thinking of signing my soon-to-be 3 year old up for a Spanish-language magazine, preferably one that ships from Spain. The only one I can find is Popi, which she is already subscribed to in French and in any case will soon be too old for. She also currently receives Dot in English.
I saw Caracola, but it is advertised for 4-6 year olds, so might be a bit too sophisticated - does anyone have any experience with it?
Any ideas? I'm willing to entertain the idea of a magazine coming from further abroad depending on the prices (this multilingual adventure is turning out to be expeeeeeeeensive! ). I would prefer one without advertising, if possible.
The magazine would be for her to read with her once-a-week babysitter, so I have to admit I'm not 100% sold on the idea yet (maybe books would be enough).
I would like to share a small success I had today.
I recently read a study indicating that children learn more when you read one book to them many times, rather than many books once (this doesn't negate the idea of having many books in the house for me, as it creates a literacy-rich environment and just encourages you to read more often!).
So I tried reading a simple, rhythmic book to my daughter many times in a row (Sandra Boynton, "Moo, Baa, Lalala"). Every time we finished it, I asked her if she wanted to hear it again - maybe 7 times (it is quite a pleasant book to read out loud, which helped!).
After reading it many times together, my daughter took the book from my hands...and 'read' it by herself, out loud! This was the first time I had EVER heard her say so much in English in one go - not just single words, but a flowing text!
Tracey - I don't have experience with this personally yet, but one thing I understood from reading expat forums is that you should try to find an English class for your daughter that is for native speakers/children who have exposure at home, and not 'just' children whose parents are eager to expose them to some English once a week. Is there a British Council where you live? Their courses are expensive but seem to have a good reputation and (at least in some places) are very focused on bringing bilingual children up to 'monolingual' level in reading and writing.
Amy - I can't believe there is a Spanish fnac - it is so French to me! I will check out Book Depository. Also, thanks for the book suggestions - I will start by looking at them! I had glimpsed at that thread but assumed it was not age-appropriate, so will have a closer look. As for magazines, I subscribed my daughter to Dot, which she loves, but I guess she won't be able to receive it until we have a permanent address...
Jessica - Thanks, I will have a look at the link you sent!
Adam - Funnily enough my daughter rather loves the Flower Fairy series, which is somewhat surprising to me as it is so old-fashioned (we received the complete collection as a present from family). So maybe I should explore other poetry books! Are there any other writers for that age group that you're aware of? By the way, I just finished your book, which was fantastic! I can't write much now but will do so when I have a bit more time.
As many of you know, we are moving from Latin America to France at the end of July. There will be at least one month before our belongings arrive and we will be living in a temporary apartment. We will therefore basically have to live out of three suitcases during that time (what we can bring over on the plane).
I want to ensure that we have immediate access to books and possibly other resources in English and Spanish from the day we arrive - especially as I will be starting my new job the very next day so won't have time to look! My daughter will be with a Spanish-speaking nanny for the first three weeks, and I hope they will read together, and I will of course be able to continue reading to her in English in the evenings.
My idea is therefore to order some books in advance by internet and have them sent to the temporary apartment so that they are there when we arrive (hopefully the landlord will agree!). But to be honest, I have very little idea of what is out there in terms of books! We have somehow ended up with a lot of English children's books (bought on trips to English-speaking countries, gifted or inherited), but I have consciously never bought Spanish books. In addition, I've recently realised that my daughter somehow seems to have developed quite strong concentration skills and is happily able to sit through books and stories that are far more lengthy and complicated than most of the books we have. So it's time to renew!
I would therefore really welcome any suggestions of books (and possibly CDs too) appropriate for a 3 year-old in both Spanish and English! Preferably ones I can order online from the UK or Spain, to save on shipping.
If anyone knows of good websites to buy books from (I am a bit sick of Amazon!) that would be great too!
So good to have your thoughts on this Adam! I do wish there were more hours in the day!
Regarding screen time, part of the problem seems to be that we just don't know how much is too much, and conversely whether some is better than none! It is really surprising that there seems to be so little research in this area - I suppose there are ethical issues involved in conducting actual randomised studies! I do know that the advice tends to be different in different countries, and that this is based on a wider set of cultural attitudes towards children, leisure time etc. I'm guessing that no one on this forum is likely to be either over-exposing their children or exposing them to inappropriate material...
So far my daughter hasn't watched actual TV (which is not very hard as we have never had one - not so much of a conscious choice as the result of living in a small studio for many years! - her father and I watch series and films on a computer when she is asleep), but I occasionally show her something short on my telephone or tablet. I'm actually quite excited for her to turn 3 (the age at which we decided that we would start exposing her to some regular screen time) so that I can start introducing her to all the films I loved growing up! The fact that they are in English is a bonus.
Raquel - I laughed out loud when I read about the 'si' and the 'see' - I will have to try that!
Undraa - you are right - need for me is a lot harder to create than exposure! The best way that I can see to actually create need at the moment would be a trip back to Australia, where she would be with others (including children) who speak neither Spanish nor French - but unfortunately that is not in the cards right now, sigh. So I guess I will keep going in at least ensuring the exposure and hopefully, as Adam says, things will soon sort themselves out! The good thing is that when we will be in France, I have a lot of English-speaking friends and the UK is not too far away!
Amy - so nice to hear about your successes - it is very motivating!
I think it will be hard to find something new and silly. I also don't have kids that age so won't be of much help, but the first 'poet appropriate for young children' that came to mind for me was Jacques Prévert. There are a lot of Prévert songs for children that are set to music, too.
This may seem a bit serious compared to what you are used to as an Anglophone parent, but it is certainly more 'French-kid-like', and I suppose the cultural exposure is part of learning the language!
There are lots of 'silly' non-poetry books for children. However, one thing that I've noticed is that the basis of the 'silliness' is rather different in many cases than what it would be in Anglophone countries (for example, there may be more sexual innuendos), so depending on what your thoughts are on this you may want to check them out first. Personally it doesn't bother me, but I know that it is an issue for some Anglophones.
Thanks to you all! I will definitely give those ideas a go. Raquel - good idea with trying with one word rather than insisting on the whole sentence. She does know the words (although it requires a bit of thought), but she doesn't seem to be very good at coming up with full sentences yet in English - she will say sentences, but only when they are 'learnt' and not spontaneous - so maybe asking her to at least translate one word into English will give her some confidence and make it more 'fun'.
Undraa - so great that you have been able to create that need! I do try to do that with my daughter, but she just gets so frustrated and eventually tends to just put her head to the ground, clearly exhausted and frustrated that she can't say what she wants to in English - I end up worrying that maybe the pressure will make her reject English! But I will keep trying.
Amy - the rules idea is a good one! I hadn't thought of that. I'll also try the ears technique haha! I think you are right that my daughter definitely doesn't like being different - I've noticed that when she plays with other children she always copies what they are doing, for example. And I know that at the creche, as the only non-Latino, she is singled out by everyone - because her home languages are different, her clothes are different, the expectations for her behaviour at home are different, even the fact that her parents don't have a car (so many years spent living in big European cities!). We do try to address this to some extent, but there is no denying that we aren't locals and do have different ways of doing things in some key 'parenting' areas. So as you say, it is quite possible that she's trying to make up for this with language - it will be interesting to see how that changes on our return to France!
Regarding my husband speaking in English, for the moment he is also concerned about her French, and as at the moment he is the main source of exposure (the other one being the babysitter, but she is not doing many hours at the moment so he has largely taken over), he has the same concerns as me for English. Once we get back to France, though, I do think we should institute something - I was thinking of saying that dinner time will be all in English, at the very least. He is very supportive of my efforts (and in fact he just got back from a work trip from New York today, with Adam's book in tow!), so the issue isn't resistance to the idea - it's mostly ensuring consistency! Maybe having a defined time and place (the dinner table) where all family conversations take place in English will help. Of course, I will continue to want my daughter to address me in English at all times!
I was wondering - how does it work with your husband? I seem to remember you saying you speak Spanish with your husband now - is that right?
Right now, my daughter clearly feels no need to express herself in the mls - not with me, her father or her babysitter. She rarely hears us talking in the ML, but somehow she just KNOWS that we understand and she seems to think it's normal to speak to us in ML.
A typical scene: her father says something to her in ml1 ("J'ai une surprise pour toi") and she turns to me and repeats it in ML (Mamá, papa tiene una sorpresa para mi!"). I then repeat it in ml2 ("Papa has a surprise for you?").
While I'm somewhat impressed by the mental dexterity she is showing by translating everything like this, and the fact that we are moving to France soon means that I expect the ml1 to become her main language, I don't want English to be left behind!
I tried pretending not to understand her, but she got so agitated that I stopped.
What should I do? Go back to pretending? I was thinking that maybe when we move (in 2 months) might be a good time to set new rules...but maybe it would be the very worst time to consider an additional change!
Great to hear of your successful experience Raquel - we will have to give it a go!
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Mayken: Yay Amy! - I'm curious about the letter my 6-year-old wrote us during her class trip (teacher-supervised activity). Will there be ml in it? I hope it arrives before she comes back!
Jun 8, 2017 18:56:16 GMT 9
Joanna: My workshop is planned for Saturday, thanks for your replies...I'll post after. My daughter was singing along to our "theme song" so I have renewed hope
Jun 9, 2017 14:18:39 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter's letter from her class trip arrived - she wrote one message in ML to Dad and another in ml to me. Her first letter in ml without a ml person to help her!
Jun 11, 2017 18:40:08 GMT 9
Nellie: Congrats Mayken, Amy and Joanna!
Jun 12, 2017 10:12:42 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wonderful, Mayken! Those letters are instant keepsakes that I'm sure will be read again many years from now...
Jun 12, 2017 14:57:15 GMT 9
Amy: Joanna, how did Saturday go? Mayken, enjoy this beautiful keepsake
Jun 12, 2017 20:36:29 GMT 9
Joanna: It went really well! I'll make a good post soon with details
Jun 15, 2017 14:04:30 GMT 9
Amy: Looking forward to it Joanna!
Jun 16, 2017 1:39:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My mom got a lovely postcard in ml too from my 6-year-old daughter on her field trip! Another precious keepsake! (OK, I prepared the card with address and stamp ahead of time, but she did the writing all by herself.)
Jun 19, 2017 23:28:01 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW VIDEO AT BILINGUAL MONKEYS TV! Your Child Wants to Be Bilingualhttps://youtu.be/C2uQhIZPp80 (And please subscribe to my growing YouTube channel!)
Jun 21, 2017 8:49:35 GMT 9
Mayken: Our ml section will have a flea market stand at the school fair with used books, games, DVDs and CDs for sale. I donated 2 games, promised my daughter she could choose something. (Proceeds are for the school's ml section.) Love the idea!
Jun 22, 2017 23:23:00 GMT 9
Amy: Am I to read something into the fact my toddler slammed Adam's book into my face...??
Jun 25, 2017 20:58:35 GMT 9
Adam Beck: "Mommy, you better make me a polyglot...or else!"
Jun 26, 2017 6:40:56 GMT 9
Nellie: Ahaaaaaaaa Amy!!!
Jun 26, 2017 9:44:39 GMT 9