When I first thought of the idea for Niños & Nature, I imagined creating a community of local families in our beautiful parks where we could play and learn together. As part of that dream I imagined offering a course just for parents where I could help teach them Spanish that was relevant to their children's lives so they could learn and teach alongside each other.
Well, life has a way of changing plans suddenly just when you think you've got it all figured out (#globalpandemic) but I see this as a wonderful way of creating an even bigger community and helping even more families begin their journey towards second-language learning!
Here we see, drumroll please, the creation of Con mi Familia! I am incredibly excited about this course and the ways in which it helps families create a more bilingual environment for their children. I wanted to take the time to write a little bit more about my vision for these series and explain some questions people may have about what to expect.
1) Bilingualism does not need to be all or nothing.
I am a non-native Spanish speaker and several people have asked me if I'm concerned about teaching my children Spanish in a "non-native" way. My response? Heck no! It's better than nothing! Life isn't perfect, language isn't perfect (even if it's your native speaker, you are still making grammar mistakes you don't know about...) and I actually think it's sad that so many people see it as either all or nothing. Many parents don't expose their children to another language because "they don't know it well enough" but by doing so you are holding both your children and yourself back! Even learning some words or songs here and there will help your child learn and experience the fluidity of language, something that will not only create more opportunities for cognitive development but will also serve them later in life. So, first and foremost, let go of the idea that you can't teach your child Spanish because you don't speak Spanish. You can. I can help you. It doesn't need to be perfect and something is better than nothing.
2) What is this fluidity of language and why does it even matter?
What a great question and if you weren't a language teacher it would be weird if you have talked about it a lot. I can't tell you how many times my students have asked me WHY something with Spanish grammar or vocabulary was the way it was. Why do informal commands change conjugations if it is affirmative versus negative? Why do you spell this word that way? Why why why?! They would be so focused on understanding why it was different from English that often times they couldn't learn it. They weren't used to their language changing and shifting on a whim and it would take years for them to see and accept language as fluid. Who are the only students who I never saw this in? Students who had been raised to speak another language already. Every single student who had been exposed to another language had no issue with major variations in the way a new language works, they see it and accept it as a unique system to learn. So, why would it be helpful for your children to learn that a book can also be called a libro sometimes? IT WILL CHANGE THEIR LANGUAGE LEARNING FOREVER.
3) Who would benefit most from this course?
This class is really made for families who want to speak Spanish TOGETHER. It isn't just about your child learning Spanish because, really, I am teaching you how to teach them. I am giving YOU (the "grown-up") weekly lessons on pronunciation so you can use the words correctly for your children. They are sponges, they will copy what you say! If you can say it, they can say it. I am teaching you how to read to your children in Spanish so that they can be exposed to it not just at school or while with a native-speaking caregiver, but so that Spanish can become a part of your family's life. If you, as the adult, don't want to learn how to speak Spanish, then this course is not for you.
4) Will we all be fluent at the end of it?!
Woo! I love that go-getter attitude! My answer is a blunt one, nope. Fluency takes years of practice and exposure and immersion. Here's the thing, that doesn't mean that you won't get there one day. These are the building blocks. Each series that I offer will build upon previous ones to slowly get you speaking/reading/singing/listening to more and more Spanish every day. Just as your children's language skills grow daily and monthly and yearly in English, so too will your skills with Spanish.
5) What is the recommended age range?
I want to say any age! The earlier the better and if your child doesn't fit within the recommended age group and you still want to sign up, you are WELCOME! The only reason I even have a recommended age is because of the weekly activities I will be sending you. I am saying 2-6 (or maybe 7) but truly, younger or older, you will all benefit.
6) Where can I sign up?!
Woo! Click on Classes >>> Class Schedule and you can sign up there!
Phew! If you read this whole post, you deserve a cookie. You know what? I ate two while I wrote this so why not match me. I would love to work with your family and help your Spanish dreams come true. Please reach out with any questions you may have and know that I am so grateful for your support.
Also, sign up quick! The spots are limited and time is moving fast!