The latest news from gray tortuga

School is Back in Session

Welcome to the new school year! While our school-aged children stepped into their classrooms earlier this month, we as parents may still be adjusting to the new normal of routines and expectations. For families with preschool-aged infants and toddlers, we may be knee deep in a fall schedule of parent and me classes. Summer somehow already seems distant - a time of spontaneity and opportunity. And for multilingual children and their families, this time ranges from peak language learning opportunities with immersive home environments and international travel to minimal opportunities without an immersive school program and resources. So, a new school year undoubtedly presents a significant transition for our children in ways they are understanding, expressing, and communicating with the world. Please check out a few tips to support language and cultural learning during this unique time.

Read more

Digital content for children ages 2 to 7 in Mandarin and Spanish

Much is discussed about the impact of screen time on young children. Experts now agree that less is better and media should not be introduced before the age of 2. The site common sense media is a helpful resource for parents. For parents introducing multiple languages, digital entertainment can fuel your child’s interest and motivation in learning and practicing a second or third language. While digital entertainment alone won’t help your child with language acquisition, there are more opportunities today for viewing and learning from international shows. In recent years, there has been an explosion of content available so it is even more critical to assess content quality and digital safety, especially on open platforms like YouTube.

Read more

Plans for 2019

Happy New Year to our partners and customers celebrating Lunar New Year! 恭喜发财。

2018 was a memorable year for gray tortuga. We launched our e-commerce site with over 60 high quality products for learning Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to US-based customers. Over 90% of our customers came from California but by the end of the year, we successfully branched out to other states in the East Coast and the Midwest. 60% of our customers purchased products in Spanish while 40% in Mandarin Chinese. Our language resources pages received thousands of views and customers asked great questions by email and on our Instagram feed @graytotuga. We were proud to establish a non-profit partnership with Global Language Project to promote efforts to provide underprivileged children access to global language learning.

Read more

Interview with Oliver Chin beloved children’s author

Oliver Chin knows children. He has children, and he might be a bit of a big kid himself. Chin is also children’s author and founder of Immedium Books, a San Francisco based publishing company, dedicated to inspiring a world of imagination. Oliver has spent his career finding authors and illustrators that can really engage children. In the process, he has become a beloved member of the San Francisco Bay Area community, working with parents and educators to publish relevant books for children. We sat down with Chin to understand how exactly Immedium Books inspires a world of imagination. “Children want to be a part of the experience – from the story to the illustration – they want to see themselves in the adventure” Chin explained.  

Read more

What can I do to support my children’s language interests if I don’t speak the language?

My family embarked on our Mandarin language adventure nearly a decade ago, and with every year, there are new curiosities and connections to the language and culture. We are fortunate to have a Mandarin immersion school as our partner and reside in a city with the oldest and largest Chinatown in the US but the question still lingers: What can I (as a non-Mandarin speaker) do to support my children’s interests and growth as a Mandarin speaker and global citizen? I am not alone in this quest of understanding the parent’s role (when you don’t speak the language yourself!) in supporting language learning so I humbly invite you to the dialogue by sharing some tips…parent to parent.

Read more