Tag Archives: children

Inspirational mum Anna from Kidslingo

This is the first in a series of interviews celebrating inspirational mums in business.rabbitThis week we have an interview with an inspirational mum Anna from Kidslingo.

Hi Anna, could you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
I am a Mum to 2 young, very active children – aged 6 & 9. They are into all sorts of activities including gymnastics, netball, swimming and Brownies & Beavers – so after-school is a busy time!
I initially did a language degree and then went into working in marketing & advertising – first in London and then in the West Midlands.

Why did you decide to launch your business?
After the arrival of my 2nd child I reassessed my career options as I needed something that was much more flexible and that could fit around the demands of a young family – nursery and school drop offs and pick-ups, as well as after school activities.
Also I missed using my language skills and really wanted to work with children. I looked at various options including teacher training & other franchises. I then decided that I could do it better myself and started up on my own teaching a few local classes and have never looked back! We now have over 30 franchisees and are growing by the month. parachute and scarves

Could you tell us a little about your business?
Our whole approach & philosophy is all about fun language learning for kids. We use songs games, actions, dance, story-telling & drama to bring the language to life & inspire our little learners and linguists of tomorrow. We have programmes starting at birth and continuing right through to the end of primary school at age 11. This covers everything from parent & baby classes, preschool classes in hired venues or nurseries and clubs and classes in primary school for KS1 & KS2. We offer a full franchise package to people – from initial training, ongoing help and support, all of the lesson plans, music, resources, marketing pack & loads more!

How are you finding it fits in your family?
Perfectly – I drop off every morning, pick up & take the kids to their activities. Having a smart phone means you are accessible anywhere. After bed time I get the laptop out again & work begins for the evening! I miss out on some downtime in the evening but I gain by the time I can spend with the kids.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

We’d love to chat to you if you think this type of thing could be interesting for you. Anna from Kidslingo.

Do picture books help children learn another language?

This week we are really blessed to guest blog from the lovely Nathalie. We met on twitter and have a shared love for picture books and puppets. So over to Nathalie.Natalie 4

For as far back as I can remember, I have always loved books and been surrounded by them. When my children (now 12 and 15) were born and I decided to bring them up bilingual (English and French) I am convinced books played a major part in their success… thanks to my parents who always bought so many stories for them! I read to Leah and Max in French every day and they learnt naturally, without any lessons, to read French; Max read so much by himself he taught himself to write in French too. However I never actually thought of making it part of my business until I had so many children’s books that I started to wonder what I was going to do with them! Books in English and books for adults I never kept you see; I believe books are only alive if they are being read and shared and it was easy to give them away, but books in French… Well they were too heavy to take back to France and I didn’t know anyone in the UK who would appreciate them! My dream was to open a French library; then my best friend came up with the amazing idea of a mobile library!
Bibliobus

You can check out photos of the bus on my website: http://natta-lingo.gihem.info/
The books I travel around with on my Bibliobook are mostly picture books. Why, might you ask, should anyone want to pay me to go and tell a story to their children in French? If you attend any of Sarah’s classes I am sure you are not asking yourself this question as she is a fan of books (and puppets!) herself. We all accept that stories in their native language are good for our children and they are encouraged to be read to and to read from a very young age. Moreover research shows that sharing stories in a second language (even without being bilingual) helps to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills! (more about various research projects here http://natta-lingo.gihem.info/spip.php?article114) More than 2000 booksChildren still love books as real objects; they enjoy sitting on the carpet and listening to a story, even more so if they can act it out with props! This we do on le Bibliobook whilst surrounded by nearly 2000 French books!! It is great fun and we know our children will learn better and be more motivated when they have fun… Not just little ones either!

If you do not have access to authentic books in another language, please check out One Third Stories for virtual stories which start in English and end in another language. That’s another great fun way of learning with stories!
So if you get the chance to, please take your children to storytelling sessions (in any language!) and keep reading to them or with them (in any language you can too!). You and they will never wish you hadn’t done it!
Natalie writes weekly blogs about picture books that are great for language learning.

Confessions of a German grammar geek (yes I like alliteration!)

With my amazing wife

With my amazing wife

This week we have a guest post from Maik with some breaking news about exciting new developments here at Lingotasic. Anyway I’ll let Maik tell you more…

 

Hi there! I’m Sarah’s husband Maik. When Sarah started Lingotastic, little did I know how quickly she would become (and I’m not exaggerating) an international phenomenon. At the time of me writing this blog, I think the numbers are at over 500 Facebook likes and 2,000 Twitter followers from across the world. Not to mention all the re-pins on Pinterest. Within a short time she’s managed to establish links with other language enthusiasts in the U.S., Taiwan, France and Wales to name just a few. All this on top of her regular language classes for tinies in the good old Home Counties.

Now the time has come for me to join my wife on the exciting rollercoaster ride which is Lingotastic. But let me tell you a bit more about myself. My name is actually pronounced Mike, and I’m originally from Germany.

Growing up in Germany, Languages have been a part of my life from quite early on, starting with learning English in school from year 5, French from year 7, and later additions of Latin, Spanish, Polish and some Hebrew. Yes, I do like languages A LOT!

Of course in a lot of cases I had a vested interest. Learning English allowed me to pick up twice as many jokes in my favourite sci-fi comedy, Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs” and watch dozens of cartoons like Inspector Gadget in the original. Oh, and it also meant I could watch, and understand reasonably well, the original UNCUT version (including all the gory bits normally cut out for German telly) of the Terminator movie when it was on cable from the Netherlands.

Asterix and his "big-boned" friend Obelix

Asterix and his “big-boned” friend Obelix

In the same way, Latin helped when reading my favourite comic book series … Asterix! Which was of course originally written in French. So after our school organised an exchange with a school in Rennes, France, I naturally returned home with my luggage containing a good number of Asterix books in their original lingo.

As for Polish, well this was actually during my University days, when I was studying European Business Studies. And it was basically a cut-price summer holiday! A full month of residential language learning in Czieszyn, Poland, including accommodation and food for a few hundred deutschmarks (this was pre euros).

Lots of Vodka. Got to try it all ...

Lots of Vodka. Got to try it all …

Naturally it involved making a lot of friends who would help try all of the 30-odd different brands of Vodka on the shelves of the local supermarket. It must have helped, or at least not been detrimental to the learning experience. I was actually reasonably fluent at the end of the month, having arrived in Poland with practically no prior knowledge.

It was also during my University days that I met Sarah – and we were married just a couple of months before I submitted my dissertation. Of course you know of her passion for languages, so it was only natural for us to bring up a multilingual family. Although honestly all those years ago I could hardly have imagined us singing the Two Tigers song in Mandarin, La vaca Lola in Spanish or entering an Esperanto language challenge as a family. But you’ve probably seen a lot of the mad stuff we get up to on the blog already, like randomly sticking Flashsticks post-its in all sorts of places.

There’s plenty more stuff in the pipeline for Lingotastic, including a multilingual CD of all the favourites from the classes and more! And I’ll be helping to develop our programme to go into nurseries and schools, doing classes, and lunchtime as well as after school clubs. Making language learning part of everyday life is what Lingotastic is all about, making it literally child’s play across the age groups.

The enquiries are already coming in from schools, as well as parents interested in after school tuition. Exciting times ahead, and I’m glad to be on board for this next phase of the adventure of Lingotastic!

Spanish resources

It’s great to find helpful resources. Here are our favorite Spanish books from class for you to read together at home.

La Oruga muy Hambrienta.

El Hombre de Pan de Jengibre.

Los Tres Certitos

Diez deditos de las manos y diez deditos de los pies.

German resources

It’s great to find great resources for language learning.
These are a few books we love to use in class. Simple text and interactive stories for you to read together at home.

A family is not complete without a Bollerwagen.

Boats, language learning and clear communication

We’re very fortunate to have a guest post from Cassandra Lewis, a fellow language enthusiast, about her language learning journey and how she uses languages in her family and everyday life. Over to you, Cassandra…

Like most people in the UK I started French at school and immediately loved it. I really enjoyed the novelty factor of being able to say things in another language and this never wore off!

  source visitscotland.com

source visitscotland.com


Those were the days of day trips on the ferry over the Chanel with my mum and dad to visit the French hyper markets, the likes of which we had not yet seen in the UK. It was so amazing to me that all the things we were being taught at school were actually things real French people said! To be able to recognise some words when we went on these trips and to try to communicate a little with people gave me such a buzz! This was just the start of my language learning journey.
I then started Spanish at school and found I loved that too! It was fabulous. I ended up doing 3 of my GCSEs in modern languages (French, Spanish and Italian) and two of my A Levels were also modern languages, French and Spanish.
I never really had any idea of what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’ but I knew I loved languages and so it was a natural progression really that my degree ended up to be French and Spanish – I even tried a spot of Russian while I was at University!
source aspirantsg.com

source aspirantsg.com


Studying languages gave me the opportunity to live and work in Peru, Colombia and France and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life whilst living abroad in these places.
My work life after University took many turns from Primary School teaching to Banking to now running a Salesforce Consultancy with my husband. Although I don’t really use my languages on a day to day basis, it’s something that’s always with me. It’s like swimming, riding a bike or learning to drive, even if you don’t do it every day, you still know how to do these things. My languages are without doubt a little rusty now but I know it’s all still in there somewhere!
I’m finding now I’m a mum to a toddler I’m able to embrace my love of languages all over again by introducing her to this world. I’ve discovered Lingotastic classes where I live and both she and I really enjoy going along every week. She’s gaining something I never had which is being able to tune her ear and brain into different languages nice and early on in life – the very best time!
My daughter constantly amazes me with how much she’s picking up. She’s saying parts of the body, singing songs and counting in French, Spanish and German and the best part is she’s picking it all up without even trying and she’s having loads of fun doing it!
I’m even thinking about learning Mandarin with her which will be a real challenge for me coming from my romance languages roots! I love the fact that my language leaning journey is still continuing. It’s a great feeling opening yourself up to be able to communicate with others on this planet; a truly enriching experience.
I do smile to myself sometimes in my work life as even though we’re all speaking English, talking the language of Salesforce and translating that into the language of those who will ultimately be using the system is something that my husband and I need to always be aware of. It reminds me that clear communication in any language is a skill and so very important so everyone knows and understands we’re all on the same page. It feels good to be understood, no matter what the language.
If you’re interested in how Salesforce could help your organisation, contact us through www.rephrase.co.uk and we’ll be happy to have a chat! 

Interview with Sam and Catherine from B Small Publishing

As a family we’ve found it difficult to find good language learning resources, so over on our
resources page. we’ve compiled lots that we’d recommend. These resources were created as individuals realised there was a need and that they were able and willing to meet that need. There are inspiring stories behind all of the resources and this time we hear the story Sam and Catherine from bsmall publishing

__SAM-AND-CATH-DOODLE2[1]

Could you tell me little about yourself and your family?
My name is Catherine Bruzzone and I started the business in the early 1990s publishing high-quality activity books for the Early Learning Centre. After these first few titles, I started to create bilingual books focussing on first words in English-French and English-Spanish. At the time, I was married to an Italian and my young children were learning both English and Italian. Prior to being a publisher, I was an MFL teacher in secondary schools teaching French and Italian – so languages were in my blood! Sam has taken on the daily management of the business over the last few years and he also studied French and Italian so is keen to carry on this important side of our business.

How does your product help family language learning?
Our activity books are created for non-experts to introduce and practise foreign languages at home. We are a commercial enterprise and so focus on creating French and Spanish material because this is what we sell best – especially in North America. We have dabbled in Italian, German and Chinese and still have a few of these titles on our list. Kids and parents of all ages benefit hugely from having a go at foreign languages and it’s really important to encourage kids when they are not feeling self-conscious about their ability – so our books target kids aged 6 to 9 years (though we have a few first words and older stories), which we feel is a great age to encourage practical activities in foreign languages. They don’t replace a real teacher or local languages group but are a good support.
The_Rights_of_the_Language_Learner_-_b_small_publishing[1]Is there anything else you’d like to tell those reading our blog?
We have created a fantastic poster encouraging kids to ‘have a go’ at learning languages. It’s called Rights of the Language Learner and is available either in a posh A3 laminated version from Little Linguist or we can give you a free PDF that you can print yourself on bsmall publishing Please email us on books@bsmall.co.uk if you’d like to receive it!

Children are NOT confused by early second language learning

French market Today I went along to the French market in Chorleywood. The weather was good so a lot of other people went along too. We held hourly French taster classes and had a lot of people coming to join in. I was able to chat to a few families about their language learning journeys. A few were encouraged to start language learning at a young age which was a great result in my mind, whether their language learning includes Lingotastic or not.

We had a lot of fun making fish, singing and finding out what noise a Chamelion makes. A lot of parents were amazed at how quickly their little ones picked up some French.

Il fait comment le caméléon?

Il fait comment le caméléon?

I came across a few parents who were concerned that exposing their little ones to second language at a young age would confuse them. Here is my answer to this…
The best time to learn a second language is the same time as you learn the first. Bilingual families start two languages from birth. Even pre-verbal babies are able to recognise different languages, a recent Canadian study found.
In our family experience, when my son was still in my tummy, my hubby spoke to him only in German,
this meant when he was born, he only recognised his dad’s voice when he spoke in German.

A baby’s babbles sound the same, independent of the language spoken around them. From six months, the babble starts to become like the language sounds they hear regularly. So if babies are exposed to more than one language, the baby soon picks up both languages.

As far as language learning goes, the motto is, the younger the better. Birth to three years is the optimum time for introducing a second language. It is much easier for younger children to acquire languages. Bilingual families usually start at birth or before. In fact, if a child is learning two languages at a time, they will learn both at the same rate, without one language inhibiting the other.
Younger is also better with regards to children acquiring a native sounding accent; they are much more able to pick up an authentic accent if they hear a second language from a young age.

I’ve seen even the NHS, and so health visitors are promoting the value of early second language learning so I’m flabbergasted that these myths live on! The research about the best time to start second language learning is clear. Don’t let this myth make your child miss out!
What do you think?

We’re learning Portuguese with Eurotalk Junior Language Challenge

As a bilingual German and English family we think language learning is very important. My husband has studied, English, French, Latin, Spanish and Polish. I’ve studied French, German and Spanish. We’ve passed on some of these languages to our children by simply playing with languages. As you might have guessed we LOVE languages. You may have read about our Mandarin learning journey at the start of this year.

Well, now we’re learning Portuguese! My girls are taking part in the Euro talk Junior Language Challenge. The Junior Language Challenge involves children up to age 10 playing simple games in order to learn Portuguese. They do this with minimal adult involvement (which I like!). I’m often cooking in the room next door as they play, so I’ve picked up bit of Portuguese. I found it very interesting to hear Portuguese and how different it is to Spanish, but I’ve understood quite a lot because of the other Latin based languages I know.

JLC  blog1

I did not start to learn a second language until I was twelve so I’m sure they’ll surpass me in their language abilities as they get older! They other languages they are picking up mostly from home, so it’s great they can do this learning independent of us.

My girls are much better at Portuguese than me and I’ve been amazed on the occasions I’ve watched them playing the junior language challenge. They really like the silly game where you learn body parts to make your own Frankenstein monster and the telling the time game, as the man’s arm grows! They’re having a lot of fun playing and moving up the scoreboard.

frankenstein

They’ve been learning more than just Portuguese.
I heard my six-year-old reading very quickly in English last week. I did not know she could do this.
They’ve been learning National flags alongside the Portuguese names for those countries.
I asked my girls what they would like to say about the junior language challenge. My seven year old said “It’s a lot of fun” and the youngest said “I’m going to win! ”
If we get through to the next round we’ll be learning another language and in the third round yet another language. I’ll let you know how we get on.

JLC logo

It’s not too late to join the Junior Language Challenge.

Why sign up to the JLC?

  • It makes languages fun
  • It introduces children to new languages
  • It raises money for charity
  • There are some great prizes

It’s not too late to join the Junior Language Challenge, simply contact Eurotalk

Learn languages and make friends with a GIVEAWAY from Chatterbags

Multilingual

picture credit: earlylearninghq.co.uk

I’m starting to realise I may be a bit of a language nerd. I’ve been thinking recently as to why people learn a language. I think for me the greatest reason is that it gives me the chance to make friends. I’m a really relational person and language learning is great for this. As Nelson Mandela said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart”

The inspired guys at Chatterbags thought up the idea of Chatterbags so that people can tell at a glance what languages you speak. At Lingotastic we were really impressed with this idea. Chatterbags have been kind enough to offer Lingotastic visitors a chance to get a chatterbag for free. To take part in this giveaway from Chatterbags you need to enter with the rafflecopter form at the end.

As I walk my children in to school I often say good morning in about four languages to the other parents and children. Dzień dobry, Bună dimineața, Jó reggelt, As- Salàmu ’Alaykum, доброе утро, Dobrý deň, Guten Morgan, Zăo sháng hăo!

At my children’s school, there are parents and children whose main language is, Polish, Hungarian, Mandarin, Russian, German, Romanian, Slovak, Urdu, Arabic, Ukrainian and French.

In September, my daughter returned to school, after the summer holidays. She had three children in her class who’d just arrived in the country and spoke no English. The children taught each other to say “good morning” in their own languages. I was really impressed by this mutual language teaching at age 7 and also the way the new children were welcomed into the class. I decided I could do this too, and learn to say at least good morning or simple greeting in these languages.

Chatterbags

Chatterbag

I started to chat the new families and learn how to say good morning. I thought language learning would be a great way to get to know other families in the school. It’s been a fun journey. I’ve spoken the wrong language to people a few times and sometime pronounced so badly they did not know what I was saying! The Urdu and Arabic speaking mummies automatically respond to me with “Wa ’Alaykum us Salam” then realise it’s me speaking and look a bit confused or giggle! In time they’ve got used to it though!

On the whole people have been really pleased to teach me a few words of their language and laughed with me as I stumble over the new words. It empowers them and builds their confidence as they are the expert in this area. Some of the mums are new to the country, learning English, and like the fact I take the time to talk with them and understand what they are saying. I, myself have struggled with communication in other languages so I’m patient!

I’m enjoying building my own language skills and making friends too. Do you have anyone you can get to know better by learning their language? I’d love to know how it goes! Let us know in the comments box below.

bagsThere are ten Chatterbags on offer as part of our giveaway from Chatterbags, kindly supplied by the guys at Chatterbags. To win your very own Chatterbag to get you talking, enter with the Rafflecopter link below! We’d like to see you out and about with it so please tweet us a picture of yourself with your bag.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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