Episode 95: Creating a language program in your child’s school

with Amanda Shong-Blahdgett

On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I interview Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett also known as Miss Panda.  She is raising her two children to be bilingual in Mandarin Chinese and English.  Last year, she added Spanish to their family language journey! Miss Panda is also the creator of the Let’s Learn Mandarin Chinese with Miss Panda album geared towards young children.

Episode #91 Quick Guide

On this episode, Amanda discusses with us:

  • Her impressive language background and how she always makes an effort to pick up some language skills whenever she moves to a new region of the world;
  • How languages are managed in her home with the One Parent, One Language strategy. Amanda speaks Mandarin Chinese with her children while her husband speaks English;
  • How her husband has learned Mandarin Chinese and the example it has set for his kids;
  • How learning another language can be more complicated as children get older;
  • The importance of personalizing your children’s language experience so it appears to their interests;
  • How she tries to incorporate academic content when teaching her children Mandarin Chinese;
  • The impact that playing in the playground has had on her family’s exposure to Spanish;
  • The pushback she had from her son when he realized that ONLY Amanda was speaking Mandarin around him and how she handled the situation;
  • The importance of keeping the family motivated on the journey if there is pushback from their children;
  • How she created her own Mandarin program at her daughter’s preschool to infuse more language into her day;
  • The pride her daughter felt to see her Amanda teaching other children Mandarin;
  • How she developed a curriculum by themes to align it to what the students were learning in the classroom;
  • The CD program she developed, Let’s Learn Mandarin Chinese with Miss Panda, and what it covers;
  • Some funny anecdotes from where her daughter was just learning to speak;
  • How her children leverage their multilingual abilities to have a secret language depending on.
  • the community;
  • The experience she has had with kid-oriented immersion programs.

Once we hop on the Autobahn at Bilingual Avenue, Amanda shares –

  • Favorite resource: Story books, comic books, CDs, songs and YouTube and Pinterest
  • Best advice received:Speak the target language to your children
  • What has held her back: Lack of resources especially as the children get older
  • Great family habit: Sticking to the One Parent, One Language strategy
  • Favorite Books: For the parents
    • 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child,
    • Bringing up a Bilingual Child by Rita Rosenback
    • Be Bilingual by Annika Bourgogne

For the children:

  • Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Best Advice to others: Have fun, be consistent and motivated!


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