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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Creativity Gone a Little Far

Well the kids finished their Tae Kwon Do trial this week! They were so excited and so were we. They received their white outfits the first day and completed two days of thirty minute one-on-ones with an instructor. The nine-year-old did well and really got into it. Her seven-year-old brother... well... the first private instruction didn't go so well. He didn't get into it as much as his sister. I just know, if we had put that Chick-fil-A cow in that room, he would have been highly motivated to do the moves. Hopefully he will grow out of that fear in the next few years. Maybe he will become so confident with Tae Kwon Do that the next time we go into a Chick-fil-A he will get his Bruce little Lee on and do a flying kick over those waffle fries and nuggets and make the cow flee instead of the other way around for a first.
The second private instruction went a bit better for our Bruce little Lee!

They were super excited because they broke a board!!! You know they were pumped! And they let them keep the boards of course. We did what most new members probably do- took pictures of them holding their boards!

Well I guess Dude and I valued that experience a little more than they did. Earlier this evening they were working so hard on some little project in the living room. I know I heard masking tape. We really didn't pay much attention to what they were doing. We were elated that they were working together without any fuss. I guess I should have questioned that.

Just before dinner, I heard Dude: "What! Why did you...?" A loss for words? I had to see what was going on.
I walked in to see that our two little creative beings had made a cash register out of masking tape, markers and... the boards they broke. The ones we cherished and valued so much.
A cash register? Check out the photo. Only the Jacksons! We need a sitcom.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Best Time for Bilingual Education

Early Childhood Learning- The Best Time for Bilingual Education
The future is a mystery, no one can say what it will hold – but if current trends continue, your child will grow up to enter a workforce in which the competition for decent-paying jobs will be nothing short of cut-throat. Despite the calls for greater co-operation and "interdependence," human nature being what it is, it's a good bet that the economy of the the future will operate according to the Law of the Jungle. It goes without saying that a good education is one of the best ways to prepare that child for survival in that economic jungle of the future.

The Bilingual Future

One of the future trends that has become certain is the existence of a diverse, global society and this rings true especially in the United States. Almost from the beginning, the U.S. has been a land of immigrants, and while the "melting pot" has been an interesting theory, it has not happened in practice. On the contrary, most major U.S. population centers have become more of an ethnic and linguistic checkerboard; Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese speakers represent some of the fastest-growing segments of the immigrant U.S. population.

As China continues to rise, English may very well lose its preeminence as the international language of business; at best, it will have to share that top status with Mandarin in decades to come.

Getting Ready

Traditional wisdom has been to start teaching a second language in middle school, or even high school. Yet numerous research studies clearly demonstrate that the optimal period in a child's life for multilingual education is during the preschool years – at exactly the same time they are learning their first language. Yes, it is possible to learn a second and third language later in life, but it is more difficult, because that neurological "window of opportunity" – when the brain is most malleable – has passed.

According to Dr. Fred Genessee, Professor of Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, it's as easy for young children to learn two or three languages as it is for them to learn one. He's not alone; educators throughout the world (in countries that often have two or even three official languages) have understood this for decades.

The way a child learns a second language is by actually speaking it in a total immersion environment. You may recall an episode of the animated series The Simpsons in which young Bart gets trapped on a farm in France – and by the end of the episode, finds he's actually speaking the language. While this was a fictional scenario, the phenomenon is real; anyone who has taken young children abroad to stay with relatives in a foreign country for any length of time has observed this happening.

Enrollment in a preschool or day care program that offers immersion in other languages is the best way to get your child started. This investment will make him/her much more competitive in the job market later on.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for>Atlanta day care
facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of>day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.