Proactively supporting language learning in the home


On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I host a consulting call with a member of the Bilingual Avenue club, Christobel Clark.  We chat about how to create a theme-based, child-centered program for her daughter at home, the pros and cons of inviting other bilingual families to participate and ideas for creating daily bite-sized language lessons for her daughter.

The QuestionHow can I put together a theme-based, child-centered program that will offer the right amount of exposure and need for my daughter?

The answer

Let’s start by laying the foundation of what theme based curriculum means.  With this approach,  each skill area of the an educational curriculum is connected to a topic. At times, themes are very specific and in other cases the themes are a bit more relaxed. 

Children of all ages benefit from the connections made across the curriculum. It can help content stay more consistent and relatable across the instructional day. 

Themes are great for exposure because you can tailor the vocabulary to the target words that you are learning.

For need, setting expectations will go a long way so I always encourage parents to build parameters around what language should spoken and to whom.

When selecting which themes to use for instructional purposes, here are some guidelines to consider that will let you make some decisions:

  1. Follow your child’s interests
  2. Extend or shorten the time spent on a theme based on that interest
  3. Incorporate pretend play, known as juego dramatico in Spanish 
  4. Make the vocabulary that is learned relevant
  5. Ensure that children see the learning process really as playing

The Question

How should I go about inviting others to join the Spanish Kindergarten program? Do you have any tips, suggestions, pitfalls, ideas for setting expectations with a group?  Is it better to conduct this method with peers or one-on-one?

The answer


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