My four-year-old daughter, Vanessa, just finished two weeks of an immersion language summer camp…in FRENCH! I’ve been wanting her to go there since last summer, but things didn’t really work out the way I’d plan them and so we had to wait until this year. And, I’m actually glad we did!
French is my third language and I’ve spoken to Vanessa in French in the past although not in a consistent or structured way. In fact, before her brother was born and when I used to stay home with her, I signed her up for toddler French lessons at our local Alliance Fraçaise. Although she was too little, I’m glad I did because she did get some exposure to the way the language sounds. So, she was not hearing it for the first time when she attended the French Summer Camp at Denver Montclair International School – the full immersion bilingual private elementary school in the city.
Each of the two weeks she spent immersed in French from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. had a different theme. The first week it was all about water – they even went on a field trip to the pool! Since I knew about the themes before hand, I made sure to incorporate the vocabulary she was learning each day on our way back home from camp. One of the things that stuck the most that first week was a song she was talk about a little boat. She also learned how to say “Bonjour”, “Aurevoir” and “Je m’appelle Vanessa.”
The second week, which was the last week of the camp, the theme was back-to-school. So it was perfect because she was taught the basics: numbers, colors, shapes and letters. What stuck the most this time around were the numbers.
I must say I was extremely proud of her when she announced, to no one in particular, at the end of the first week of camp: “Yo hablo tres idiomas. Españo, inglés y francés.” (“I speak three languages. Spanish, English and French.”).
Want her to prove it to you? Check her out in this video I took of her over the weekend:
From the start, I knew she probably wouldn’t learn a lot because, after all, two weeks is really nothing when it comes to language learning. But, I did know that the exposure would be a great way for me to transition into a more formal situation where I’ll actually be more consistent about teaching Vanessa a third language. And, to that end, if you follow us on Twitter, you might have already learned that we are incredibly excited about our new partnership with Little Pim. I’ll let you know more of the details very, very soon, but for now, suffice it to say that I’ll be using all of Little Pim’s materials in my journey to start Vanessa on her third language and I’ll be documenting her progress right here during her first three months. Although I know it’s not going to be easy, I have a willing participant and I’m work hard to remember, above all, that we need to make it fun!
What do you think about the idea of exposing your children to a third language? Any tips for us as we embark on this incredibly exciting journey?