Bilingual is Better

It’s extremely gratifying when I get word that a respected brand and/or company has taken the decision to create materials which are relevant to our Spanish-English bilingual children. It’s one more step towards creating the awareness that our children are growing up in a global and diverse community with its own set of needs.

That’s why I was excited to find out that KCET, local public TV station for Central and Southern California, and The Jim Henson Company have teamed up to bring us all 41 episodes of Sid The Science Kid in Spanish. The Spanish-language episodes of this preschool show that promotes exploration and science readiness in a kid-friendly way started airing last week.  Now, that’s great news! Well, but only if you live in the KCET broadcast area…sorry.

It’s still good to know that the initiative has been taken and I’m sure it won’t be long before your local public TV station picks it up. Give them a call and nudge them to do it.

In any case, we’re happy to share a full episode of Sid el Niño Científico. Just click on this link to watch the episode “Mis zapatos se están encogiendo” and some other fun clips.

While you wait for the episode to load, we invite you to meet Moises Román. Moises appears regularly on the PBS child care information series Los Niños en su Casa as Imagination and Creativity Expert. He is also the educational advisor for “Sid the Science Kid,” produced by The Jim Henson Company and KCET. Román is a renowned advocate of child care and early childhood education. He’s also the proud father to a trilingual boy.

Could you please tell us about your participation in the Spanish version of Sid the Science Kid?

I have been involved in Spanish language Los Niños en Su Casa on KCET and public television, but my involvement on Sid has been on the original English version, in advising on the science learning in the program and in the design of the curriculum that is the basis for Sid.

In your expert opinion, what is the educational value of a show like Sid the Science Kid for young children?

The value of a show like Sid is that it gives children a gentle introduction to early science learning. It introduces children to science concepts that will help make connections about how the world around them works. It teaches children to wonder, ask questions, and critically think about ideas that children typically have.

Why was the decision made to create a Spanish version?

From the beginning, we have hoped to have a Spanish language version of the program, because KCET wanted to make it available to Spanish speaking adults and children. When we had available a very well produced Spanish dubbed version, KCET was delighted to be able to broadcast the program. KCET will also use the Spanish version in its outreach with parents.

Tell us what, other than the language, will set the Spanish version apart from the original English version?

As an additional benefit, we think English-speaking students who are learning Spanish will find the programs very helpful. The program is the same, except for the language. It had always been designed with a multi-cultural cast. Teacher Susie is Latina, as is Gabriella and her family.

How many children do you have and are you raising them bilingual and/or bicultural? If yes, explain how.

I have an 11-month-old boy and he is being raised to speak three languages. He is Mexican and Chinese so he is first learning to speak his two home languages. His mom speaks to him in Chinese and I speak to him in Spanish at home. In his preschool, he is learning English since he started about two months ago. We strongly believe that our child should be familiar with both cultures as well as speak the languages associated with each.

Any tips on how parents can utilize educational TV as a learning tool?

Parents can use educational TV in several ways. Parents can start by co-viewing the show with their children to guide their children through the content that is being offered. Another way that parents can use educational TV is to extend the learning from what was offered on the show. For example to extend the learning, the parents can simply take a child outside to further investigate a concept that has been introduced on the show. If parents need help on how to extend the learning, kcet.org has a section for parents and teachers to get ideas on how to extend the learning.

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