My plan was to write about a completely different topic today, but something pretty amazing has been happening the last couple of days with Vanessa in her Kindergarten class.
When I informed her teacher that Vanessa is bilingual, she told me there were two kids in her classroom who also spoke Spanish, but are not bilingual yet and so they are attending ESL classes. I wanted to ask who they were and if I could meet their parents, but I figured I’d just let that happen kind of organically figuring there’d be plenty of opportunities for this.
But then, I wasn’t able to attend the open house where all parents were invited to the classroom so Vanessa’s teacher could give a presentation and answer questions. And so, I missed that opportunity to possibly introduce myself and Vanessa to these kids and their parents.
Instead, I told my daughter that there are two children who speak Spanish in her class who are learning English and that she’s lucky to speak both languages because maybe she could help them if it ever looked like they didn’t understand what was being said or if they maybe wanted to talk to other children in Spanish. Unsure of how much of this she understood, I kind of just left it at that.
Later on, when I asked Vanessa if she had met the Spanish-speaking kids, she told me she hadn’t and I know these past three weeks have been so overwhelming for her that I didn’t want to push the issue too much. But when we got to school Wednesday morning, she happened to get in line just behind one of these children – the one that we both have noticed cries every single morning when his dad leaves. ¡Pobrecito! Kindergarten can be a tough adjustment, and I’m sure not speaking a lot of English doesn’t make it any easier.
I guess the dad heard my kids and I speak because he immediately turned around and asked if we spoke Spanish. I said yes, introduced myself and ask about his son. We barely had time before they opened the school doors and the kids marched in, and so I quickly reminded Vanessa what I’d told her about being bilingual and gave her a kiss good-bye.
That afternoon, her teach told our nanny that Vanessa had made a new friend. When I asked her about it later on that evening, she told me that his new friend spoke Spanish, just like her.
On Thursday, when my husband dropped our daughter off at school, he said that as soon as the he saw her, the little boy came running to her and said, “¡Hola Vanessa!” with a smile in his face and they started chatting. And then, for the first time since school started three weeks ago, the little boy didn’t cry when his dad left…
I am not sure if you get the first comment. But here I go again, I am glad to find another bilingual mama. I have a little girl who is three years old.
Welcome to SpanglishBaby! Glad you found us and congratulations in raising your daughter bilingual!
Hope to see you around here!
Oh, so beautiful. A friend who can understand you is everything!
I loved this story and thought is was awesome you got to meet the dad and his son. I can imagine how it was like going to a new school and being scared. Having to find someone who spoke the same language always helps.
Lovely! This might be the first time that Vanessa realizes the support and comfort that she can give others by being able to speak both languages, but I can guarantee it won’t be the last. Of course, our kids get as much out of those connections as they give. What a wonderful way to start kindergarten!
Fantastic, beautiful and all those good things. Loved hearing this story…xo I know you are proud!
Aww! This is such a great story! Proof of how wonderful it is to be bilingual…that is so awesome amiga! Thanks for sharing!
It’s fabulous that your little girl was able to be a bilingual partner for the new boy, no doubt about that, plus it will help Vanessa see the power of being bilingual. But I can’t help but wonder about the teacher’s lack of preparation to support Spanish speaking (and bilingual) children. Seemed like she hadn’t bothered to actually make the partnerships happen earlier in the week, even faced with a child who she cannot understand, who is crying every morning. I wonder what she had tried to help those two adjust, if she hadn’t even set Vanessa up as their cultural/linguistic child translator. And, it’s a shame the little guy isn’t hearing Spanish from teachers in his school… but that’s another issue!
Thanks for your comment!
I had the opportunity to more formally introduce myself to this little boy’s father yesterday afternoon while we were waiting for our children to come out of school. After finding a bit more about their situation, I offered my help in case they ever needed it. He, in fact, told me he was absolutely delighted with the school and our kids’ teacher and everything they’ve done to make the transition smoother.
While I cannot speak for what happens within the school as I’m only privy to what happens while we wait for the children to go in in the morning maybe twice a week (since I work full time and my husband and I take turns) and once in a blue moon in the afternoons while we wait for them to come out, I have to say that I’ve also been delighted with her, the way she is with the children, and how open and genuinely interested in my daughter’s bilingualism.
AWWW… Couldn’t help to get all chocked up!!!
I love this story! I’m so proud of Vanessa. It’s kind of crazy to me (as a teacher myself) to think that it can take this long for some of those connections to happen, but it sure will help, socially and academically!
Well don Vanesa! you make me drop a couple of tears there!
I’m Spanish,my husband is English and we live in England, Our daughter Matilda is 17 months old and she doesn’t speak much, just a few things mostly is Spanish, but she understands everything in both languages, I suppose is just a matter of time..
I love this space! going to facebook right now to follow you! x
OMG! I am totally crying.
What a lovely story!
That’s great! I wish my daughter had a Spanish speaking friend to help her in Her Spanish. I am a Spanish speaking mom, but with no other Spanish speakers in our group of friends it is hard to teach her all Spanish. How did you do it? Do you have any suggestions on how I can help her? She is in 1st grade now.