Bilingual is Better
May
07
2009

We Must Be Doing Something Right…

Posted by:  |  Category: Daily Learning

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Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

I love Vanessa’s escuelita for a lot of reasons including the fact that I was able to reserve a space for her three times a week next school year. Considering I’ll be back to infinite days of diaper-changing and breastfeeding, this will be a life-saver, if you know what I mean…

But the biggest reason I love her preschool is that they are in constant communication with parents. Recently, I had the chance to attend a mini parent/teacher conference. First, I thought, what can they possibly tell me about my 33 month old child? But then I reconsidered remembering my initial fears about whether or not she would thrive surrounded by English-only for five hours once a week, when all she had been exposed to since birth was Spanish.

Just so you all understand, our situation is a bit different than many of our SpanglishBaby’s readers. As I’ve said in the past, although we use the mL@H method, we don’t really do it in a conscious effort to teach our daughter Spanish, but because this is truly how our family’s dynamic was even before she was born. Both my husband and I were born and raised in Latin America. And, even though we both speak English fluently, we don’t really use it unless it’s absolutely necessary. The same goes for the rest of my family who happens to live close-by and whom we see on a pretty regular basis. So, Vanessa’s exposure to English before attending preschool was pretty limited.

I still remember picking her up after her first few times there and being told by her teachers that she seemed to understand everything, but that they barely knew what her voice sounded like because she was so quiet. ¿Callada? ¿Vanessa? But at home she won’t shut up! Oh-oh, I thought, was this preschool thing going to be detrimental to her language development? Would it confuse her so that she’d stop speaking? How would she communicate her needs?

Well, I’m happy to report that my fears were squashed. Although it’s only been three months since I enrolled her in preschool, she’s definitely communicating much more, according to her teacher, and nothing could make me happier. Although I was aware that Vane was saying a lot more things in English -because I’ve obviously heard her – it was still nice to hear about her progress from her teacher’s point of view – someone who sees her in a completely different setting than I ever will.

Because I am so proud of her and what she has accomplished, I thought I’d share with you a sample of the things she’s been saying at home since attending preschool.

Some of these are just random words that she’ll say in English instead of Spanish for no apparent reason..

  • bumblebee
  • backpack
  • firetruck (honestly, I don’t even think she knows this word in Spanish)

A lot of these are phrases I guess she hears over and over again either from her teachers or from the other kids…

  • I got it!
  • What are you doing?
  • I’m not tired (she says this often to her teachers to avoid taking a nap!)
  • I’m all done
  • Where are you?
  • That’s good

Vanessa has full-fledged conversations with me in Spanish. Her vocabulary and her ability to construct complex sentences – for her age – are truly incredible. And, even though she is nowhere near this level in English, I am amazed when I hear her say stuff like the above because YO no le enseñé! I don’t speak English to her or when she’s around, so she didn’t pick them up from me – or her father, for that matter. It just goes to show, how amazing our kids’ little brains truly are.

So, what’s the bottom line? Si se puede, is what I say. We just need to continue doing what we are doing and feel confident that they’ll turn out to be bilingual in the end, right?

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