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:
-Model curiosity in learning together. You may catch your children singing an unfamiliar song or writing new words/characters in a second language. After all, it is a new school year with new energy and excitement to learn! Spending 10-15 minutes learning from your children will signal your support in a multilingual experience and your appreciation of their learning and teaching!
-Access language books, digital content, and community resources aligning with your children’s specific interests and passions. Their interests and proficiency levels may have changed since the end of the last school year or the summer, so meet your children where they are and refresh what they are reading, watching, and hearing with a visit to the local library or cultural community center. For Spanish and Mandarin options, we invite you to visit gray tortuga’s selection of curated products!
-Plan a cultural trip. It is without question that language and culture are intertwined. We think and speak about what we experience so consider a local trip to a cultural neighborhood, market or restaurant or if possible, a national or international trip to a different state or country to experience immersion through arts, food, and conversations.
Last but definitely not the least, please remember to enjoy the journey! Hopefully, growing together as a multilingual family brings a special bond and joy to all.
Thank you for being a part of gray tortuga’s journey. To stay connected, sign up on our website and follow us on Instagram @graytortuga #languageisagift.
advisor to gray tortuga and parent of multilingual family, October 3, 2019