Bilingual is Better

Photo credit: whiteafrican

My daughter, Vanessa, loves languages. Nothing could make me happier because I love languages too!

We’re about a little over two months into our Trilingual Adventure with Little Pim – our journey to expose Vanessa to her third language: French, and I’m happy to report that things are going much better than I expected. I try to speak to her in French every single day, even if it’s not for an extended period of time. We either listen to Little Pim’s French Bop CD, watch one of the DVDs from the series, read the few books we have in French or I just simply reinforce the latest vocabulary she’s been learning by using it during our everyday conversations.

At the suggestion of Little Pim’s founder, Julia Pimsleur, during our last Skype consultation, I’ve made it a point to speak French while I give Vanessa a bath. I have to admit that I wasn’t too sure it was going to work out, but it has been an excellent tip.

Before I implemented this new “rule,” I explained what it was all about to Vanessa. I don’t think she was too convinced either, until we actually went to the bathroom for her bath. Julia had mentioned that she used to line up little toy animals on the ledge of the tub, call out each of their names, and her son would dump the correct one in the water. You can’t imagine how much fun this is for a child!

I decided to start with something a little bit easier because we haven’t gotten around to learning all the animals’ names yet. She only knows chat (cat) and chien (dog) from Little Pim’s flashcards and she also knows ours (bear) from a particular book we’ve been reading which I promise to write about very soon. Anyhow, to make sure she’d able to play without getting frustrated about not knowing the answer, I lined up a bunch of different colored blocks she has in the tub which go along with a bateau (boat) – she knows this word very well because she learned it during French summer camp.

I think we used about 6 or 7 different colors and I just called them out and had her dump each one in the water. She was in heaven and, after a couple of tries, got every single one of them right. To change it up a little bit, we’ve also been using her little rubber duckies which are all dressed up differently to play this game. Another variation has been for me to say a number and for her to count the duckies or block and dump the amount corresponding to the number. A few nights later, I decided bath time was a good enough time as any to introduce the names of body parts. Granted, she already knows a lot of them thanks to the ever-popular tête-épaules-genoux-et pieds song (head-shoulders-knees-and toes)! Either way, I’ve been introducing additional terms ever since. Vanessa is so into it that whenever I tell her it’s time for her bath, she always says something like: “Y es la hora de hablar francés, ¿verdad?” I guess I’m know experiencing what the time and place method is all about!

Since, as we all know, the best way to learn another language is to be exposed to it in fun and meaningful ways, I’ve been searching for other options in our journey to become trilingual. I know there’s a French playgroup quiet a bit north of where we live and I’ve been wanting to make it a point to go check it out because I truly believe in the power of playgprous. However, I really haven’t been able to find the time to make a commitment to something like this and I’d hate to start something and not be consistent. So, when fellow blogger, Eve Bodeux of Blogging on Bilingualism, let me know about a local French camp which takes place once a month on Saturday, I immediately jumped on the idea.

I promptly got in touch with the teacher to ask her all kinds of questions about the camp. I was a bit nervous because Vanessa would be the youngest of all the kids in the group and because the teacher told me all of them already had exposure to French. Either way, I figure the only way to find out would be to try it out. So, I signed her up and took her two weeks ago. I couldn’t believe our luck when I found out that the teacher was actually Vanessa’s French teacher during the two weeks she attended Denver Montclair International School‘s French camp this summer! I was worried no more. When her father picked her up, five hours after I dropped her off, Vanessa didn’t want to leave!

What can I say, my girl loves languages :) .

Disclosure:  This post is part of a series of entries made possible by Little Pim.  The stories, outcomes, and opinions regarding this trilingual adventure are all our own.

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