Congratulations, you have decided to give your child the gift of languages with a Language Immersion Preschool. One day your child will thank you for it.
We know you are invested in the process of your child becoming bilingual. We are thankful you have chosen in this investment and we are going to share more about why language immersion preschool programs will benefit your child now and later in their life.
Let’s start with the WHAT! What exactly is a preschool language immersion program and how are they different from traditional language classes. A traditional class means that one class is taught in the foreign language (Spanish). The other classes in the child’s preschool are taught in English. What we find is a relatively only a small perfect of the child’s day is has been spent speaking Spanish.
In a language immersion preschool, most or all classes are taught in the foreign language, resulting in a high percentage of the day speaking the language. There are different type of immersion programs. However, most programs assume that one language is being spoken at home and you, the parents, would like another language to be learned at preschool and for some immersion programs a third language will be picked up in later in the program.
Complete Immersion is probably the most popular choice and means that 100% of the classes are taught in Spanish. This type of program is designed to bring about fluency in the Spanish language. Your child will become fluent in English, because this language is spoken at home. This type of immersion is considered to be one way.
Partial Immersion means that 50% of the classes are taught in Spanish. With these type of programs the goal is for the school to focus on fluency in both English and Spanish, they are considered two way. Some schools support a triple play program and these are for the very ambitious and will involve a two-way complete immersion with Spanish and Mandarin at school with the assumption that English is spoken at home. These types of programs are rare.
1. A True Investment That Will Save you Down The Road: Studies have shows that children have a window of a few years during which learning a second language comes easily to them. Very easy in fact. The estimated “cut off” age is around 10 years old. An immersion preschool may be a little more expensive than an “English only’ one, but the return on your investment on their language education when they are less than five years old is, let’s say a hundred times greater, than when they are older and in their teens and we will say a thousand times greater by the time they are in their twenties, especially when considering the cost of college these days.
2. Language Absorption: Children are little sponges from about the age of 6 months and through the age of 10. Studies show the more you give them to learn, the more they will acquire. If you want them to learn more, it makes sense to give them the opportunity to learn a second language while they are still in this “sponge” period. The frequent use of the foreign language being used in immersion programs in much higher than in a traditional class and this increases their opportunity to absorb the language.
3. Teaching Approach: In a preschool whose main focus is teaching a new language, the teachers have more time and flexibility to approach teaching for a wider variety of angles. This style is a good fit for our younger learners who are naturally inquisitive and are actually able to absorb the languages from all angels.
4. Involved and Invested: At the organizational level, language immersion preschools tend to act as a magnet for achievement-oriented parents who like to stay involved so you can meet others share your education values. Many parents will invest time into ensuring their child knows how to communicate everything in English and Spanish. An example may be when a parent says “You know rojo means red, correct”
5. Diversity, Culture, Compassion: You are creating an environment for your child where they need to try harder to understand and to be understood. This is a very meaningful way to teach compassion. It is also impossible to learn a foreign language without understating the culture that goes with that specific language. Becoming culturally aware and compassionate for others with different backgrounds have always been an asset. In today interconnect world, we believe this connection and compassion is priceless!
What is Positive Behavior Support all about?
I will never forget the time I was sharing my preschool parenting woes with a fellow preschool mom and also fellow educator. At one point in my long drawn out rant she asked me if I was using PBS in my approach. Silly me, I thought she mean the channel PBS, you know like Public Broadcast System. I told her Barney was not my thing and she just laughed!
She was referring to Positive Behavior Support also referred to as Positive Discipline. I future blogs I will refer back to Positive Behavior Support (PBS) a lot, so I figure now is a good time to give you to 411 on what positive discipline is and what are the staples into developing this type of discipline in your home and child’s life.
What is PBS?
Positive Behavior Support is effective with our little ones because it is different from traditional or conventional discipline. It has nothing to do with punishment, which is often times partnered and thought of hand in hand with discipline. It does have everything to do with teaching your child very valuable life skills!
This type of discipline with young children involved sharing what you will do and then kindly, but firmly following through, rather than expecting your child to fall in line. As your child becomes more mature and cognitively developed, you will be able to involve him or her in the process of focusing on solutions and participating setting his or him limits.
In this way, he or she can be practicing thinking skills, feel more capable and learn to his autonomy is useful ways. Understanding the building blocks of PBS will support you as you build relationships of love and respect with your child and will also help you solve problems together for years to come.
The Building Blocks of PBS:
• R E S P E C T – Parents model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation at hand. They also model kindness and respect the needs of the child.
• Behind the Behavior – All human behavior has a purpose. You will be way more effective at changing your child’s behavior when you understand the motivation for it. Your little one started creating the beliefs that form their personality from the very day they were born. Dealing with the belief is as important, maybe even more important, than dealing with the behavior.
• Effective Communication – Parents and children can learn to listen well and use respectful words to ask for what they need. Parents learn that children will hear them better when they are invited and encouraged to think and participate instead of being told what to say and do. Parents learn along the way, modeling what they expect from their children.
• Your Child’s Perspective – Your child will go through different stages of development by learning about the developmental tasks your child faces day in and day out. Each child is unique as in the roles they play in their lives contribute to their way of thinking
• Discipline with purpose- Effective discipline teaches valuable social skills and life skills that are not permissive or punitive.
• Focus on the solution, not the punishment – Blame never solves problems. Decide how to approach the challenges an problems. Then, as your child grows and develops you lean to work together to find respectful and helpful solutions the problems you face. This will help from everything from spilled milk, sharing and the bed time struggles.
• High Five Time – Encouragement celebrates effort and improvements, not just success and also helps children build their confidence in their own abilities.
As we continue to share more about PBS down the road, we hope this give you a little insight into the building blocks of how it works and how we build the relationships in the classroom and in your homes!
It took me time to shift my way of thinking and I realized my I no longer needed to lecture or nag. We built our relationship on cooperating and building my children’s thinking skills. I understand my children do not have the same priorities as me, but there is mutual respect and an understanding to comply when the request are on their developmental level. PBS had made a positive change in our home and school life!
Tips for busy parents to keep their mornings running smoothly
Tips For Keeping Everyone Smiling!
I don’t know about you, but I used to feel like no matter how much planning went into my weekend to prepare for the upcoming week my Monday mornings were always still a bottle of stress. I asked myself “Why are my mornings so stressful?”
What it really comes down to is this, mornings are a short period of time to get a lot accomplished and depending on the personalities in your home it can make all the difference on how your mornings play out.
For example, I am fast paced in the morning, and my middle daughter moves quite slowly. I am a morning person who whistles and sings “Good morning” to any souls who walk my way. Now, this does not mix well with two out of my three children.
I think it’s important to take into consideration how you and your children operate before tackling your morning routine. Mornings can become the perfect opportunity for children to assert their individuality and with the clock ticking, this is the prime time for power struggles.
Here are some tips for what I would like to call “Cool, Calm, Collective Mornings”
- Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. I firmly believe a well rested child is a child ready to take on the day! Tuck those kiddos in on time. Every child is different, I learned early on that my middle child need a little more sleep than the average child so I adjusted her bedtime to make sure she was well rested before that 6:30 am alarm went off!
- Prepare the night before. Remember when I said there is a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time? Let’s minimize the amount of responsibilities everyone has in the mornings. Here a few quick tips to tackle the night before:
- Prepare breakfast – Yes you can! Try these breakfast tips
- Pack lunches
- Choose clothes
- Assign a place for “all things headed out the door the next day”
- Get up before your children. Waking up about 15-30 minutes before you children will help you establish their routine. I like to be showered, dressed and well caffeinated before I even wake up my children. I found having my own routine before establishing theirs help set me up for success.
- Make a “My Mornings” chart. My children each had their own routine chart and this helped them stay on track without me having to run to each of my three children and ask “Did you do this, now do this?” It doesn’t mean I don’t have to check in on them, because I do, but the chart was a nice little mommy assistant to move my littles on. I suggest a picture chart for 5 and under. Ages 3-5 could have their task written next to the picture. Some ideas for the morning chart could be the following:
- Brush your teeth
- Brush your hair
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Put on shoes
- Grab your back pack and lunch
- Hug mom/dad good bye
Happy Parents Make Happy Children!
Incorporate “First, Then” into your routine- also known as “When, Then”: After successfully completing Positive Behavior training, I learned the importance of modeling routine in my language. My children love to have about 10-15 minutes of TV time before leaving in the morning. So I would always remind them where they were at in their chart and say “ First, brush your teeth, Then brush your hair” It was almost ALWAYS followed up by “When your routine is finished, then you may watch TV”. This has worked wonders in our home and in our routine. I make sure my kids know, it doesn’t matter to me if they watch TV or not, but if they want to they must FIRST do their routine and THEN have their free time. They get so sick of hearing me say First, Then, that they no longer nag to do things until they have first completed their tasks. Stick with it my friends, First/Then works!
- Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected: My children can sense when I am feeling overwhelmed and frantic. When I follow my morning routine, I rarely feel this way. But sometimes there are hiccups in the morning that no routine can solve (you know the stepping dog poop on the way to the car, a surprise nose bleed or stomach virus beginning as you walk out the door! You know we’ve all been there!) But when you are feeling frazzled, get down to their level, explain to them why you need help and give them a chance to help you solve your morning challenges. Your children will mirror your actions. If you are huffing and puffing about your issues, sooner or later they will have the same kind of morning stressing over all the small things. Keep your calm voice and coffee in hand.
- Work Together: Talk about how everyone can be a team. I have given each of my children their own “Family task” in the morning. My oldest daughter feeds the dog, my middle daughter is the light fairy (makes sure all lights are off) when we leave the house and my son is the bag checker; he makes sure everyone has their things when we are pulling out of the drive way. This makes everyone feel important and also helps me with my morning!
Trying to establish a morning routine for kids that actually works may seem in the beginning like a lot of effort, but the ease with which (most of) our mornings flow these days has made the effort well worth it.
Instead of being the most stressful time of the day, our mornings are now a whole lot calmer and set the pace for a beautiful day ahead. What more could this happy momma ask for?