Americans tend to be ethno-centric. (A university writing professor has some insight on that here). We tend to know less foreign languages than our counterparts in other countries. I’ve been Facebooking with some long, lost relatives in Belarus; the daughter (18) chats fluently online in English, and mom is fluent in German in addition to their native Russian & Belarussian. Me? Well, I know smatterings of Russian (I can say “I don’t understand,” and I can ask where the bathroom is), German (I know how to say “the beer is good in Munich”) and a lot of French–but the French is rusty because I don’t use it much. Clearly, we Americans don’t keep up with languages we DO learn.
How can we set a better raise our kids to be more globally-oriented? How can we pattern a world that’s less ethnocentric for our kids? Try letting them hear another language often, in a natural way and support it with fun activities.
Latin Grammy-nominee and award-winning singer/producerMaria Del Rey has some fabulous music that promotes early learning of Spanish through rich, vibrant music (or some deep lullabies) that alternate English and Spanish lyrics. She’s been at this for a long time, most recently with the tour of her The Bridge: El Puente multi-media show, which has played to over 60,000 kids in 36 cities. As a winner of Parent’s Choice Awards and representative of Latin America at a United Nations Conference for Children in Geneva, Switzerland (among other things), she knows her stuff when it comes to kids
Her new company, Childgood.net, has bundled together and expanded her repetoire. Trust me, moms, when I say you will LIKE listening to this music. This isn’t shlocky kids fare, this is also MOM FARE. I love the rhythms, the Latin beat and very cool culturally-appropriate instruments that get used.
Will kids like it? Well, I suppose so. My son (now in 3rd grade) has listened to Maria’s Peanutman album (available now under The Bridge: El Puente title) EVERY NIGHT at bedtime since we got it, many years ago.
Maria has created some home activities sheets that compliment her music. The materials were developed for children who attend her Hola Amigos or Bridge: El Puente live concerts and residencies, but you can use them at home. It includes:
- lyrics in English and Spanish to keys songs from The Bridge: El Puente mp3 download,
- a map of Latin America with flags to match with countries
- craft activities like a homemade drum, feather hat and huipil.
Here are the materials.
So, this can neatly fit into foreign language, music, geography and art for the homeschool families! And moms of kids in pre-school or elementary (traditional) school can pat themselves on the back, reveling in the “supermom-ness.”