Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tools to Help Teach Preschoolers a Foreign Language

As you know, I am embarking on the adventure of teaching my two young children German.  I do have a background with the German language (although it has been an eternity), but I need something to help me get my children excited and learning at their level.  Enter Little Pim.  You all know from my post last week, that Little Pim is the system I chose to use.  I contacted them about this and they agreed to be a part of it.  



So we have been watching the DVDs.  The kids are really into them, but I want to extend their learning past watching these shows.  I say words from the shows throughout the day as they come up.  Since the shows are about eating, waking, playing, sleeping, etc. it is pretty easy to incorporate them into our daily routine.  

As I feed them a meal, we point out eine Telle (a plate) and ein Glas (a glass), along with the translation of foods we are eating.  That seems to be working really well.  The other day I realized that my previous experience with this language has an advantage with the pronunciation of words.  What if you were learning the language with your children?  

I went to the resource area on Little Pim's website and found an awesome print out that I wanted to share with you.  Here is an excerpt of it.  You see that it shows which DVD and show it is in reference to.  It has each line of the show written out in German, the English translation, and written out phonetically.  So if you don't know how to say a word, you can hear it on the DVD (or on the digital download) and then have it written out in front of you as well.



They also have neat things to know, such as in German "w" sounds like "v" and that nouns are always capitalized.  Like I said, neat little tips that a beginner would not know.  They have these for all of the languages, by the way.



I printed up some coloring pages from their resource center, too.  As the kids colored, we talked about what they were coloring (in both languages) and it was a great time to introduce the German words for the colors.  



I have also shown my son which countries speak German on a map.  Charley would have no idea about the concept of a map.  We talk about different cultural things in those countries as well.  Watching a recent episode of Toot & Puddle in which one of them goes to Bavaria really helped spark this interest. 

I am currently trying to find neat books for toddlers and good books for preschoolers that are written in German.  This way I can incorporate those into our reading time a few times a week.  I am having trouble finding some that I can actually see what the book looks like on the inside (to make sure it is decent) and that are not over $20 a piece plus shipping and handling.  

Here is my suggestion to Little Pim...come out with a few picture books (board style) for toddlers, and short stories for preschoolers in the languages you offer.  I, for one, would definitely love that.  Even the people that do not purchase Little Pim would want them.  It is hard to find these books, especially for us small town people.  I bought Baby Einstein DVDs and books for my children.  I would definitely buy Little Pim books!  Just saying.

So how do you incorporate a foreign language into your routine?  I would love to read what you do and how it works for you.  Please share with us.

6 comments:

  1. We read books in Spanish. Our library even has some books in spanish.

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  2. Go you! How have you been girl?

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  3. I've been thinking about this myself. I found a great program online and our library carries it, so we're going to test it out.

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  4. I just came across your blog and I love that your teaching your kids German. It's a very difficult yet very precise language. I most know since I'm German! If you need help finding books in German - please let me know.

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  5. ich bin mude und ich habe hunger und ich weiss nicht und ich liebe dich.

    That's pretty much the extent of the German that I know, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED learning German in college. I am so impressed that you are doing this!

    Oh, and I found you through Janna!

    As a mother of four (oldest 5 and on down) I'm excited to see what else you got!

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  6. alphabetgarten and amazon.de is where we get most of our German books and movies.

    I mostly only speak in commands, so I'm going to start making breakfast and the playground German only times so that they get more exposure

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