Introducing my five year old to the concept that English isn’t the only language people speak.

Ever since my oldest daughter has been able to talk she’s always been a kid that would say random words and I’d explain to her that language is a series of sounds placed together in order to communicate with one another. As she would then continue and say random sounds and reply to me “mom that’s language.” Again I would repeat myself and explain to her that more than one person has to know what something means in order for it to be considered language.

With that in mind she’d explore the world of internet videos coming across kid videos in other languages, in which I myself am ignorant too because I’ve never learned any language besides English. Not for lack of trying, I had taken Spanish in middle school and in collage. It was difficult for me to retain and I quickly became discouraged.

Recently my daughter has been insisting she wanted to learn Spanish. Out of my element I went on a search for kid friendly Spanish books. In my opinion the whole point of early education is simply to instill interest and basics within children as they navigate life and provide them with basic skills needed to help them find themselves in adulthood. Opening my daughters mind to languages beyond English gives her a higher chance to retain more as she grows older also I want to raise an open minded child who is respectful of others cultures and languages. There’s a lot of hate and ignorant speech in the world that children pick up on, and I don’t want my child to allow that to guide her towards a hateful opinion of people. Therefore my husband and I decided to do better at opening her eyes to other languages and cultures, and although my husband and I aren’t much for traveling maybe my daughters will want to and it all starts now.

The two books above are super helpful resources to learn Spanish. Although if I’m being honest I find myself turning to the board book Mis primeras Palabras, My first 100 words. the most because my youngest daughter who’s currently a year and half loves to be a part of the lessons and she rips everything when given a chance. It’s the safest route. The book teaches animals, body parts, clothes, vehicles, food, and toys. Honestly I feel within a month of reading kid and toddler friendly Spanish books I’ve been able to retain the information better than taking a several month Spanish class in collage. It could be the constant repetition and the fact my toddler loves grabbing that book and handing it to me throughout the day.

Let’s Learn Spanish, by Aurora Cacciapuoti. The first few pages gives a basic introduction to Spanish nothing complex or overwhelming perfect for a child starting out, and a mother who is learning as she’s teaching the best she can. It contains numbers, colors, food, animals, body parts, family concepts and much more. It’s definitely a perfect tool if your looking like I am to simply introduce young children to the concepts of Spanish. My oldest is currently five and a half therefore I’m not expecting full sentences, simple words for now.

As i was looking for Spanish books I came across books spoken in four languages. I got a bit over excited and my daughter telling me she wanted to learn Spanish got me thinking “why stop there.” Since my oldest daughter is often reluctant to read also I have her working on learning to read which can be quite overwhelming for her, she’s not always interested in sitting down and listening to the books even though they are super short. My youngest on the other hand loves it, with her I really focus on the word in English repeating it after every word in another language.

The color book introduces an animal with a piece of clothing in the corresponding color. For example for the color yellow there’s a cow in yellow boots, she smiles and points to her own feet. Both books are in English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

My First Book of Chinese Words by Faye-Lynn Wu, starts off with a brief introduction on correct letter sounds, it’s taken me time to wrap my mind around it, I don’t want to teach my children the improper pronunciation of words. However it does a great job of introducing a person to Chinese culture in a simple way, perfect for a night time story or anytime throughout the day.

As I said before I got over excited and consumed by the fact that I hadn’t been including world studies in our lessons together. I had been so focused on basic skills such as learning the alphabet, counting, shapes, colors, reading all that sort of stuff. Not to forget fine motor skills, properly using scissors, writing her name. That it had slipped through my mind until she asked me and I was left sitting there thinking to myself how I fell short on that one. Therefore we began a new idea in my house one I had simply mentioned in passing over the years to my husband yet didn’t have the time to follow through or carry out the idea. A country of the week theme in which one day of the week currently Friday for us my husband and daughter bake a recipe corresponding with the country in which were studying that week. My husband is the better cook in my household.

Since we live in the United States of America it seems fitting to incorporate a dish from other Countries as a way to open her mind and understanding that a lot of the foods she enjoys have been introduced and brought over by immigrants. Again she’s only five therefore I keep it simple and light, hoping that one day when she meets someone that speaks another language she’s respectful towards them instead of rude simply because she’s ignorant. I believe people are rude because if they can’t understand something human beings first reaction is hostility as a defense. Hopefully by expanding her mind now it’ll help keep her mind open later.

We’re currently on week two of our Country of the week concept. Shortly I’ll add a post to share what we’ve been working on, and materials I’ve created or found to help guide my family through the learning process.

For now it’s fairly simple….
Saturday or Sunday- Pick the Country for the week. The first Country the Netherlands was based off the fact my daughter wanted to make doughnuts and pancakes and the second country Mexico was picked because we’ve been learning Spanish recently. The idea going further would be she would simply point to a spot on the globe and pick a Country from the continent her finger is on. (I don’t need to plan to far ahead of time because our lessons as of now are fairly simple.)
-Introduce Country of the Week.
-Foreign Language Lesson. (consists of any of the following, look at charts, watch videos, read books.)
-Foreign Language Lesson. (consists of any of the following, look at charts, watch videos, read books.)
-Foreign Language Lesson. (consists of any of the following, look at charts, watch videos, read books.)
-Bake and taste culture together.
-Simple coloring pages I create with images containing food and or things that the Country is known for. Each coloring page contains simple sentences to get my daughter to read.

My daughter’s Country of the Week Journal. We used the stickers we currently had on hand to decorate with.
I laminated the page and placed it on our learning wall to update each week. Free printable below πŸ™‚
A simple English to Spanish picture I made to use during our Spanish lessons. Free printable below πŸ™‚

(I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliant progam and any purchases through the book links above I may earn a commission from.)

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