Did You Know Every Parent is Bilingual?

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“Don’t talk to me like a baby!” You might be familiar with this phrase if you have an older child or have gotten into a spat with a partner or colleague. While baby talk can be construed as condescending when directed at an older individual, it is actually critical to the cognitive development and language learning of infants and toddlers.

Linguists and child psychologists refer to baby talk more often as child-directed speech. Many aspects of child-directed speech allow it to facilitate language learning, such as the following:

High-pitch and tone variation

These qualities characteristic of child-directed speech make it more stimulating, effectively causing the words spoken to be more memorable.

Repetition

Children’s first words are often the ones they hear the most often. This is because repetition is a key component that drives memorization. Thus, the repetition common in child-directed speech helps children learn the language.

Reduplication

When using child-directed speech, parents often say expressions like “woof woof” and “beep beep.” This specific type of repetition, called reduplication, also helps with memorization and language learning.

Isolation

Sentences and phrases formed when using child-directed speech tend to include the most important word at the end. For example, parents might say “oh look at the cute little doggy” instead of “there is a cute dog right over there.” This isolation of the word dog helps children learn the word, because they can separate the noises associated with saying the word from the rest of the phrase.

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When children imitate child-directed speech, they are actually imitating and learning proper grammar.

One theory about language acquisition is that much of children’s knowledge is innate. Specifically, some linguists have asserted that children are born with knowledge of syntactic structures and then utilize imitation to learn words to fit into those structures. Complete foreknowledge of grammatical structure prior to birth seems unlikely, especially given this structure is unique to every language. In fact, a closer look at child-directed speech reveals that it is far more properly structured than casual, fragmented conversation between adults. When children imitate child-directed speech, they are actually imitating and learning proper grammar. While children’s capacity to learn may be innate, their language learning is in many ways an imitation game.

Each and every parent around the world is fluent in both his or her native tongue and child-directed speech.

Child-directed speech doesn’t just exist here in the United States and with English, but in a plethora of cultures and with a multitude of languages. Each and every parent around the world is fluent in both his or her native tongue and child-directed speech. This form of bilingualism is pertinent to infants’ and toddlers’ first language acquisition and cognitive development.

Just like child-directed speech improves cognitive development in infants and toddlers, so does learning a foreign language.

While parents adopt this child-directed speech with ease, infants and toddlers could also adopt another language with ease. Children can learn more than one language at a time without conflating the two or hindering their progress towards fluency in their native language. In fact, children are noted to become more native-like speakers in a foreign language if they learn the language at a very young age. Just like child-directed speech improves cognitive development in infants and toddlers, so does learning a foreign language. As it happens, children who learn another language at a young age are said to be able to concentrate better in spite of outside stimulus, an important skill in an age when technology, among other things, has become a huge distraction.

While all parents are fluent in their native tongue and child-directed speech, not all parents are fluent in other foreign languages… cue Little Pim.

In conclusion, while many people may not appreciate when you speak to them like a baby, your infant or toddler loves it. Your child’s engagement with child-directed speech makes it a useful tool to teach words and proper grammatical structures. Via aiding in first language acquisition, child-directed speech improves a child’s cognitive development, just as learning a foreign language can. While all parents are fluent in their native tongue and child-directed speech, not all parents are fluent in other foreign languages… cue Little Pim. Let us join you and your child on a path towards intellectual growth.


Works Cited:

http://pandora.cii.wwu.edu/vajda/ling201/test4materials/ChildLangAcquisition.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3937814/Why-baby-talk-GOOD-children-Speaking-motherese-helps-develop-language-skills-faster.html

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-05-motherese-important-children-language.html

http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2009/05/learning-second-language-good-childhood-mind-medicine

Musical Spanish Immersion Class in NYC

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little-pim-kidsWe’re excited to launch our partnership with The Pineapple Explorers Club (based in NYC) for their Musical Spanish Immersion Class using our Entertainment Immersion Method® and language learning materials.

If you’re located near New York City, see below for more details or visit their website linked above:

Classes begin MONDAY JUNE 26th at 10 AM in Marcus Garvey Park (upper west corner below playground) & WEDNESDAY JUNE 28th at 10 AM in Central Park (Enter at 79th and walk South, group will meet on the left just before the playground).

Cost: $15 a child (cash or Venmo) or find them on KidPass!

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Bilingual Baby: When is the Best Time to Start?

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The benefits of introducing your baby to another language are well documented. In our rapidly globalizing society, knowing a second (or third) language provides an obvious edge over the competition in the job market.

But, what about its impact on childhood development? While some would suggest that over-exposure to foreign language may cause delay in speaking, this assumption is both unproven and outweighed by the benefits dual-language babies experience as they grow.

We know the many benefits, so the question soon becomes: “When do we start?”

The answer is surprising. According to an article by the Intercultural Development Research Association, it may be most beneficial to begin second language exposure before six months of age. In a study by psychologist Janet Werker, infants as young as four months of age successfully discriminated syllables spoken by adults in two different languages. Dr. Werker’s work also determined a possible decline in foreign language acquisition after 10 months of age. To give your child their best start, you must begin early.fun-language-learning

How is this so? The answer can be found in the complex world of the human brain. Our brains react uniquely to language learning at any age, even growing when stimulated by another language. While mankind can acquire a language at mostly any stage, it is exceptionally difficult to do so outside of childhood. From infancy to age five, the brain is capable of rapid language acquisition. Even so, there are varying degrees of acquisition, even for children. After six months of age, infants begin distinguishing the differing sounds of their native tongue and others. Beyond six months, exposing your little one to a brand new language will pose a challenge.

That is not to say that teaching your two year-old French is a bad idea! It is merely to say that the earlier you begin teaching your child, the better.

Though most babies wont utter their first words before eleven months of age, they develop complex mental vocabularies through the piecing together of “sound maps.” As they gather from what they are exposed to, an infant who hasn’t been immersed in another language during this delicate stage will not piece together adequate sound maps to differentiate another language.

The reason for this is rooted in the brain at birth. Children are born with 100 billion brain cells and the branching dendrites that connect them. The locations that these cells connect are called synapses; critical components in the development of the human brain. These synapses are thought to “fire” information from one cell to another in certain patterns that lead to information becoming “hardwired” in the brain. The synapses transmit information from the external senses to the brain via these patterns, thus causing the brain to interpret them, develop, and learn from them. From birth to age three, these complex synapses cause infants to develop 700 neural connections per second.

These synapses are critical in sound mapping, and at the age of six months, the infant brain has already begun to “lock in” these new patterns and has difficulty recognizing brand new ones. This is because although your baby is born with all of the neurons they’ll ever need, that doesn’t mean that they’ll “need” all 100 billion. Infancy to the age of three is filled not only with rapid neural expansion, but also with neural “pruning;” a process in which unnecessary connections are nixed and others are strengthened.

Exactly which connections are pruned and which are cultivated is partially influenced by a child’s environment. Synapses are cultivated or pruned in order of importance to ensure the easiest, most successful outcome possible for a functioning human being. If a function is not fostered during this stage, it is likely that the neural connections associated with it will fade. For the brain to see a skill as important, you must make it important.

To put it plainly, if you only speak to your child in English, the infant brain sees no reason to retain a neural pathway regarding the little Mandarin it has heard. Babies learn about their environment at every age and are internally motivated from birth to do so. Your baby wants to learn and does so by exploring and mimicking the world around them. They’re entirely capable of building a complex knowledge of Mandarin, Arabic, or Italian. So, why not feed their mind and start now?

Bonding With Your Child Through Your Native Language

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raising-bilingual-kidsCreating bonds is a very important part of raising children. It allows them to feel nurtured and loved. Sharing your native language with your child is a great bonding experience that can have a life-long impact.

Family ties

Many parents that are raising bilingual children have ties to the language through family. The technology that we have today makes it so easy to communicate with family that is far away. Your child will have the great advantage of communicating and forming bonds with the extended family. Being able to communicate not only broadens social skills, it definitely expands the family tree.

For a fun craft, build a family tree with your little ones when they are old enough to recognize names and photos of relatives. Talk about the relationships between each family member and go over relevant vocabulary in your native language, i.e. words for mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, etc.

Cultural traditions

Languages are more than just words. There is a lot of tradition within them. Through the words of your native language, your child will learn about food and traditional dishes, they will learn about music and instruments. They will hear stories that have been told through generations and pick up books of great writers. They will be able to have an understanding and participate in these traditions. The bond between you, your child and family will have stronger roots.

gift-of-languageThe gift that keeps on giving

Sharing your native language with your child really is a gift. It will not only set up great advantages when he/she is an adult venturing out in the world, but it will instill a strong sense of self and an emotional connection to others. One day, your child will be in the position to pass down all of the great treasures that are wrapped inside the words of that second language.

Need some help introducing your child to a second language? Little Pim makes it fun and easy to learn a new language with resources your child will love! Comment below if you have any questions!

Your Baby CAN be Bilingual

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bilingual-babyExperts around the globe agree that language learning begins at a young age. Adults that attempt to learn a new language often struggle, whereas small children have the unique ability to latch on to multiple languages at a time. However, many parents face a dilemma when it comes to the decision of exactly when a child’s exposure to another language should begin. It’s a topic that poses many valid questions among parents and educators:

When should I begin teaching my child a second (or third) language?”

“Should I wait until they can talk?”

“Should I wait until they’ve mastered English?”

“Will exposing them to too many languages at once cause communication difficulties later on?”

Science has shown us the answer, and it’s groundbreaking. Babies can learn multiple languages at a time and have no delay in language development as a result. In fact, beginning multilingual exposure in infancy may give your child an edge over their peers later on. Oral vocabulary is critical for children as they achieve literacy in any language, which doubles when a child is fluent in more than one language.

A University of Washington study determined that children exposed to other languages during the first year of life fared better in preschool due in part to the fact that their vocabularies were greatly increased. The bilingual children in the study were shown to understand written language at an earlier age than their peers.

Children should be exposed to multilingualism as early as possible. 6-month-old babies can understand spoken language with great clarity. Infants as young as 7 months can understand and keep their languages separate. As children reach a verbal age, they commonly mix languages together, but this is not at all a bad thing. It is a common occurrence in young and old bilinguals alike, called “code switching.” Code switching is an almost universal step for children as they learn to verbalize multiple languages correctly. Children that mix their languages do so only temporarily, whereas adults that learn later in life commonly struggle with it.

You can teach your child several languages at once without “damaging” them in any way. Considering that over 60% of the world population is multilingual in some way, it’s easy to see that human beings are hardwired to know more than one from the start.

Here at Little Pim, we have many products that encourage language immersion from an early age. Do you have any little polygots running around? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Outstanding Information on Teaching Your Child Another Language

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back-to-school-language-learningTeaching your child a second, or even third language, is exciting, stimulating, and fun, not to mention an experience that will bring you and your child closer. Moreover, the best part is you will be doing a great service for your child. Approximately, two-thirds of the world is bilingual and in the United States alone, the number of children who speak a language other than English has increased to 21 percent. The benefits of learning another language are well documented; a few of the benefits include:

  • – Increased intelligence
  • – More fluent verbal skills
  • – Greater memory ability
  • – Problem-solving savvy
  • – Improved cognitive skills
  • – Better reading/writing skills
  • – Larger worldview

As a parent, you may have a lot of questions about how, where, or when to begin the journey of introducing your child to a new language. Let’s look at a few of the questions parents have.

When is the best time to teach my child?

Research shows that babies and toddlers are prime age for teaching a second language. As astonishing as it sounds, the brain of the baby is wired for learning a language. The sounds of the language are as a pattern to the brain, which acts in ways similar to a computer – coding and decoding the symbols of sound and storing it into the memory. Before the age of six years old is ideal.

How can I possibly teach my child another language when I don’t know the language?

This is probably the biggest concern and hold back for a lot of parents, but with immersion-style videos, books, and entertaining material, your baby can begin learning the language whether you know it or not. Actually, you will learn right along with your child. Engaging videos are a must to attract the attention of the small child. Our Entertainment Immersion Method® engages a child’s natural love of play and learning through repetition. Colorful books to touch, upbeat music, and flashcards all work to reinforce the language.

early-learningWhere can I find a program that will effectively teach my child another language?

At Little Pim, we have developed a highly-visual, language-learning program that children fall in love with. One reason our program is effective is children can relate to their “teacher,” which happens to be the delightful, animated Little Pim panda bear. The books and videos host the adorable panda so children come to know and love the little bear. They will look forward to learning. One child’s parent is quoted as saying her son “loves the animations of Little Pim and often asks to watch them over and over again. He loves to yell the words he knows…”

Teaching your child a second language has never been more fun. Choose from our 12 language sets to watch a free preview of Little Pim today!

Pokémon Go Guide for Parents with Young Kids

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pokémon go for kidsEveryone is going Pokémon crazy with the release of Nintendo’s new app, Pokémon Go. As a parent of little ones, it’s important to learn about the pros and cons of this app before letting your kids dive in on the fun. We’ve been playing for almost a week – for research purposes only, we promise 😉 – and have seen the big phenomenon hit the streets of Manhattan and across the country. You’ve probably heard the news regarding the potential dangers of playing the game or perhaps you’ve downloaded the app yourself and can’t get enough. We’ve compiled some great tips about how to make Pokémon Go a fun, safe, and educational game to play with your little ones.

Protect Your iTunes or Google Play Password from Your Kids

Pokémon Go is free to download, but there are in-app purchases to buy PokéCoins for different items in the “Shop.” These purchases require you to login to your iTunes or Google Play account, so be sure your kids are not able to do so by disabling in-app purchases or keeping your password safe to avoid getting a huge bill at the end of the month. You and your family can still have all the fun for free as long as you play wisely to collect more items from PokéStops.

This app requires cellular data

Like many mobile apps, playing Pokémon Go will require use of your cell phone’s data, so hopefully you have an unlimited data plan or else you’ll probably start receiving texts from your carrier warning you that you’ve used a majority of your data this month. If you’re hitting the max data allowed per month, you may need to have your data turned off until the cycle restarts. Also, this app will do a number on your battery life. Make sure you’re fully charged before you head out the door or carry a charger with you.

Kids Playing Pokémon Go
Photo courtesy of J House Vlogs on YouTube

Make it Fun AND Educational

Playing the app can be rather simple once you understand what to do. You’re playing as the Pokémon trainer who collects Pokémon (cute, little “pocket monsters” with unique traits and skills) outside. The app connects to your GPS to show you your location and the whereabouts of Pokémon in the wild, nearby PokéStops, and gyms where you can virtually battle other players. At the end of the day, you and your kids could be walking miles on this virtual scavenger hunt while discovering local landmarks and small businesses that you’d normally never visit. This provides a great opportunity for kids to get outside and explore, with your supervision of course.

When you get to a PokéStop and it’s a historical landmark, spend time with your little ones to read about the landmark and start discussions about the history. Playing Pokémon Go during summer vacation can be a fun way to teach your kids about your local surroundings and to provide incentives to take trips to the library or museum for more typical summer learning. You can even use family trips to a local gym or PokéStop as an incentive for finishing a desired task or summer reading.

Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings

According the the AppStore and Google Play store, the recommended age to play is 9+ years due to a warning for “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence.” Our biggest concern is having little kids roaming the streets while looking down at their device (“distracted walking”) or being “lured” into a dangerous area, which is why we recommend that a parent or guardian is always present to supervise your children, especially your young ones when playing this app. Recent reports mentioned that players are using the “lures” (a feature used to lure more Pokémon to a location) to plan a robbery or to lure children. Always look up when walking and hold onto your kids when crossing a street or intersection. We recommend playing this game at your local park or an area where there is little traffic.

Another part of the game involves eggs that hatch into new Pokémon. When you collect an egg, you can incubate it by walking a certain distance (2 km, 5km, 10km) to make it hatch. We love that this feature gets you and your whole family outdoors walking instead of indoors on the couch. Different types of locations have different varieties of Pokémon, so you will have plenty of opportunities to explore fun spots with your kids, for example, when you visit a body of water such as a lake or river, you will see more water Pokémon.

It’s a Great Way to Make new Friends

Parents playing the app with their little ones will quickly notice they aren’t the only ones. When walking to a PokéStop or local museum or library that put out a lure to gather people for an event, you will most likely make a connection with another family. Since school is out, now’s the perfect time to get out there and meet other parents and children who have similar interests. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with your local area’s small business owners and support them by buying the family ice cream or a delicious pizza pie!

Due to the game’s diverse players, you’re probably going to meet a bunch of families who are also raising bilingual children. This gives your kids a great opportunity to practice speaking in their second language with other children their age.

Language Learning with Pokémon Go

Here at Little Pim, we’re all about making language learning fun, easy, and effective for young children. We thought of ways to tie in language learning into the game to keep their brains active all summer long.

Counting

You can have your kids count the number of steps to catch the Pokémon in the foreign language they are learning. If the Pokémon is further away, help them out with the bigger numbers and eventually they will learn all the numbers in the new language.

This app also forces you to learn the metric system as the distance to walk to hatch your eggs is in kilometers you can convert them to miles. A recent article by MentalFloss pointed out that according to Google Trends, searches for “how far is 2 km” and “how far is 5 km” spiked after July 6.

Vocabulary

Create your own flashcard set with a Pokémon Go theme. Choose vocabulary words that you encounter while playing the game, i.e. street, library, tree, ball, catch, throw, as well as all the related animal names you can think of. If you’re child is learning Japanese with Little Pim, teach them the 1st Generation Japanese and English Names:

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/8_gjbvAYhzw?rel=0″ align=”center” autoplay=”no”]

Explore New Cultures

NYC CulturesHere in New York City, we have an extraordinary mix of different cultures present within walking distance. For example, you can take a family trip over to Koreatown with your little language learns to get a glimpse of the Korean culture and enjoy the delicious cuisine at an authentic restaurant. Perhaps you’ll run into a nice family of native Korean speakers that are also playing the game to spark up a conversation so your child can practice speaking in Korean.

Head over to Little Italy to catch some Pokémon and practice your Italian by pronouncing the various food and restaurant names. Enjoy some delicious Italian cuisine when in the area.

Learn more about NYC’s ethnic neighborhoods from BusinessInsider to begin exploring this summer whether you’re a local or just visiting.

Have Fun and Be Safe

Outdoor play and social interactions for kids is great, but can also present risks. As a parent of little ones, we recommend you supervise your child’s cellphone use and play this fun game by their side. Make it a family activity and take the opportunity to teaKorean-For-Kidsch your kids about “stranger danger” and the risks of “distracted walking.” We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and wish you the best of luck in “catching them all!”

If you have any other tips for parents playing Pokémon Go with their kids, please comment below. Don’t forget that you can also take Little Pim with you during summer vacation with our digital downloads available in 12 languages. Your kids will be speaking a new language in no time with our unique approach. Learn more on our website or contact us during business hours. Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe!

 

A Simple Guide: Which language is best for my child to learn?

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Choice is an incredible gift. For parents, however, it is also paralyzing. When our choice regards our children’s education, we catalog every possible option, outcome, success, and worst-case result, don’t we? Little Pim applauds such parents who want desperately to choose what’s best for their child. We recognize how this deliberation is firmly rooted in love, so we not only gift you with choices, we also equip you with helpful tools to choose.

Seeing as multicultural awareness and the growing necessity for well-rounded children has never been as strong, we’re thankful for your interest in at least one of the 12 language programs we offer. You’ve likely had the thought: Which language is best for my child to learn? The following guide should help you confidently navigate your choice, as well as this important note.

Children aged 0-6 have brains best for learning up to three languages at once! If you can’t choose one, why not consider two or more? Your child will soon thank you for this choice between multiple languages learned. What a unique potential to influence our world!

Little Pim’s Twelve Language Programs:

Spanish

As the 2nd most common language in the United states, Spanish is one of the simplest languages for English-speaking children to learn and one of the most useful languages in the world for travel. There are over 414 million Spanish-speaking people in the world. Spanish lends well to learning other Latin-based languages in the future such as French and Italian. These languages all have Indo-European roots and share some characteristics that are present in Spanish but not English. Knowing Spanish can open up many job opportunities for your little ones, especially in the United States in healthcare or education industry.

Check out LeapFrog’s blog to learn about 10 benefits of teaching your child Spanish.

Frenchlittle-pim-for-kids

Did you know that French is the most widely studied language in the world? As the official language of over 29 countries, French is highly utilized in the world of higher learning, literature, culinary arts, and fashion. It is also recognized as an official language of the United Nations. There are also many words in the English language that have French origins, such as “rendezvous” or “cinema.”

French is also one of the foreign languages our founder, Julia Pimsleur, chose for her two boys, Emmett and Adrian. Adrian speaks fluent French and Emmett speaks some Spanish, French and Hebrew.

Mandarin Chinese

It’s the most widely spoken language in the world! An increasing demand for Mandarin-speaking employees is just one reason to start your child early! Spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide, Mandarin is an official language of the United Nations. Mandarin Chinese is tonal, which means that pitch is used to distinguish its lexical or grammatical meanings. The earlier a child begins to learn this language, the easier it is for them to pick up on the differences in tone and begin employing them correctly.

The latest trends we’ve seen at Little Pim are new parents choosing to teach their child Mandarin alongside romance languages like Spanish and/or French.

Russian

russian-3-pak-digital-downloadAs the official language of the former Soviet Union, Russian is still spoken in 15 European and Asian countries. Russian is spoken by almost 280 million people worldwide, and is an official language of the United Nations. It is the fifth most frequently spoken language in the world. International political developments and growing business opportunities with multinational companies have led to increased demand and opportunities for Russian speakers.

The Russian alphabet is easy to learn and only has 33 letters. It is a Cyrillic script, which is a writing system used for alphabets across Eastern Europe, as well as North and Central Asia. The Russian alphabet is wonderfully phonetic, making it even easier than English as the letters have a consistent pronunciation.

Italian

Italian remains one of the top 5 languages studied in US colleges. Over 7,500 businesses correspond with Italy hosting over 1,000 US firms. If you’re child is a musician or music lover, he or she will love learning Italian. Did you know that Italian is the language with the highest number of words for naming food, restaurants, dishes, and produce? For more reasons to learn Italian, check out The Italian Academy’s article on the “Top 10 Reasons to Learn Italian.”

German

teaching-german-for-kidsAs the 10th most spoken language in the world, this language has English roots. Phew! There are thousands of words that are closely related known as “cognates.” Why not try this language long-associated with academia and science. Knowing German also increases business opportunities as Germany is the #1 export nation in the world.

Japanese

Almost every nation in the world includes some aspect of Japanese culture and commerce. Tourists flock to Japan annually, supping from its offerings and influence. Japanese is the 9th most spoken language in the world, with 128 million speakers. Japan has the 2nd largest economy in the world, which leads to increased demand for Japanese speaking experts. Learning Japanese may also inspire your child to learn the other Asian languages we offer such as Korean or Mandarin Chinese.

Arabic

As an official language of the United Nations, Arabic is the most widely spoken Semitic language. Arabic is spoken by roughly 300 million people. Many English words have Arabic roots; words like ‘candy,’ and ‘spinach.’ Yum! According to AmericanCounsels.org, “In the last 15 years, U.S. government agencies have expressed a much greater need for Arabic speakers to address the complex political, military, and economic questions surrounding U.S. engagement in the Middle East and North Africa.”

hebrew for young childrenHebrew

Over 10 million people speak Hebrew daily. Worldwide, millions more study Hebrew for both religious and cultural reasons. If you or your little ones plan to travel to Israel, learning Hebrew will definitely come in handy as it’s the national language. Israel is also one of one fastest-growing high-tech economies in the world. Learning Hebrew can be easy and fun, especially with Little Pim by your side.

Portugueseportuguese-for-kids

Welcome to the language of the Southern Hemisphere! Because this language is rarely studied, speaking it is an incredibly marketable skill. Did you know that Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world, with 215 million native speakers?

By learning Portuguese, your kids will have a much easier time picking up any of the other romance languages like Spanish, French, or Italian since they all have Latin roots.

Korean

Korean is currently growing in popularity due to South Korea’s powerful economy, geopolitical importance, art and culture. There are over 80 million Korean speakers in the world and the Korean culture is like no other. Many people choose to study Korean because they fell in love with the culture. Korea is famous for K-pop music and Korean dramas. For more reasons, check out our blog post on why your child should learn Korean.

English

Little Pim’s most popular language program outside the United States in our English/ESL program. After Chinese and Spanish, English is the world’s most spoken language with over 335 million speakers worldwide.

Learning a second language can be fun, easy, and effective with Little Pim. Language learning should always be a positive experience and cannot be rushed. Remember to praise your little ones for speaking in the second language. Teaching your child a foreign language can be a great way to give your child a head start and prepare him or her for the global economy.

For more extensive explanations, you can read further here. And of course, please do not hesitate to comment below contact us with any questions.

Why Bilingualism is Crucial to Your Child’s Future

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The world is getting smaller and smaller. Jet liners, bullet trains, the internet and new international markets are blurring the lines on our old maps. Our future is changing. The world that our children grow into isn’t going to be the one of ours or our parents. That’s why it’s time to take the future seriously. Parents, grandparents and teachers need to put on their “game faces” and have a serious talk about bilingualism.

When a child is bilingual, their mind opens up to an entirely new world. We know that in this ever-changing global economy, those fluent in more than one language have better odds at a brighter future. The United States has seen a rapid change in language and culture over the last century that has facilitated the growth of professional bilingualism in the public and private sectors.

To put it into layman’s terms: bilingualism = jobs.

Translators have always been an important component at every level of government and business. But translating isn’t the only profession that requires the mastery of another language. Today, educators and medical professionals often find themselves in situations that require the use of a language other than their native tongue.

Complex global affairs have caused leaders to identify a need for bilingual talent within the government. Corporate outsourcing has increased the amount of multilingual interactions in the business world. Many nations around the world are rising as economic superpowers – such as Russia, China, and India – and to learn the languages of such nations increases the desirability of any potential hire.

You must be wondering…how are these things relevant to my child now? 

Foreign language careers are on the rise. When your bright-eyed three-year old graduates from college, she’ll enter into a job market in which multilingualism is a highly sought after skill. Research done by Korn/Ferry International stated that over 66% of North American recruiters felt that being bilingual would become extremely important over the next 10 years. Today, many HR departments require eligible candidates to be bilingual. If you look on any job posting website, you will likely see hundreds of jobs – even part-time work – that require bilingual candidates.

Language learning should start young. Adults can learn languages, but as our brains mature they tend to over-analyze. This makes it incredibly difficult for many adults to pick up a second language. Young children don’t have this problem. According to a study at MIT, children go through a “sensitive period” for language learning that lasts until puberty. Between birth and five years of age, the human brain is hard-wired for learning multiple languages*. After age five, this critical window begins to close and it gets much harder to acquire a new language and a good accent.*

Language learning is proven to “feed the mind.” Learning another language gives kids an educational edge over monolingual peers. Longitudinal studies at Harvard suggested that language learning “increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility in children.” Speaking more than one language can help kids with planning and problem solving. It also helps children with attention and cognition. According to Psychology Today, children in bilingual environments perform better on standardized tests and have better academic performance in general.

To give your kids a leg up in a competitive educational environment as well as the job market, it’s imperative that language immersion starts now.

Getting your child started in language learning can give them the skills they need for a secure future. At Little Pim, we’re here to help you through that journey by giving you the tools that you need. If you have questions about how Little Pim could benefit your child, or about the benefits of language learning, don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below today.

Ways to Sneak Language Learning in Family Summer Fun

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In the days before air conditioning and electronics, outdoor family games were a staple of summer evenings. Many times these activities involved both the adults and children, but more often the kids played while the grownups chat and relax. Often the whole neighborhood was involved. Depending on where you lived, you could hear happy voices calling out in Spanish, English, French, and many other languages as well.

Fireflies twinkled in the gathering dark, cool breezes offered relief from the heat of the day, and everyone was ready to unwind and enjoy good company, and good fun, in the late summer evenings. Music rang out, with one adult playing guitar while others sang favorite songs from their cultures.

You can readily update this time-honored tradition, bring in some nostalgia, and further your child’s bilingual education. Following are some family favorites, along with suggestions on ways to help your kids learn a second language.

Badminton – Look for a set at your local sports shop or discount store to bring back Badminton for a fun family outdoor activity. Try keeping score in the second language.

Volleyball – Use your Badminton net for dual purpose and enjoy some fun while teaching the children new skills. Call out vocabulary words and instructions in a second language as the family plays Volleyball together. If you have little ones, use a balloon and try not to let it hit the ground by gently tapping it up and counting to practice your numbers.

Horseshoes – All you need is a stake in the ground and some used horseshoes, or you can buy a set. What is the word for horse in the second language? Practice animal and nature vocabulary in the second language while playing the fun yard game.

Frisbee – Toss around a frisbee and let the family dog join in. Each time someone catches the frisbee they must say a word or phrase from a chosen them in the second language. For younger children, you can say the word in the second language and have your child repeat after you on every throw.

Sidewalk Chalk – There are so many possibilities with sidewalk chalk. Your kiddos will love drawing on the driveway! Get creative and add in language learning activities by playing ‘pictionary’ outdoors with chalk so your little ones can guess the drawing in the second language. Another fun activity would be to draw the map of the language’s country of origin or have the kids draw and color in the country’s flag.

roasting-marshmallowCampfire – Make a fire in a fire pit or other safe area and sing camp songs or tell stories while roasting marshmallows. Bring out the guitar or maracas for even more fun. What songs can you introduce in a second language? Check our Little Pim Spanish Bop and French Bop on our website. You can download your copy instantly to make summer travel a lot more fun!

Now, look back to when you were a child and recreate some of your best summer fun with your kids. How can you involve your children in the culture, memories, and the language of your childhood or the language and culture your kids and family are learning? Time together is how we make lasting memories that children will cherish.

Current brain research and best educational practices show that active, hands-on learning and parental involvement is an unbeatable combination to help further a child’s ability to grasp and retain knowledge. Comment below for more information on Little Pim’s award-winning language learning program for kids ages 0-6.

To make summer travel a lot easier and fun for the little ones, check out our post on Summer Travel Tips with Kids.

8 Do’s and Don’ts of Raising a Multilingual Baby

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kids-language-learningThe benefits of raising a multilingual child are plenteous. From improved cognitive performance to increased marketability in the future workforce, the multilingual child has the advantage over his/her peers and in life.

Parents can begin the process of teaching their child languages from infancy! Research done by Dr. April Benasich, Little Pim Advisor and Director of the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University has revealed babies learn languages in a different manner than a person who already knows a language. Those individuals learn a new language primarily through memorization, studying what letters make what sounds, and so on. On the contrary, a baby’s brain unconsciously follows sound patterns, changes in pitch, stress, or tone, and identifies slight changes.

According to various studies, teaching your child new languages between the ages of birth and five years old is the best time to accomplish this goal. Here are our 8 do’s and don’ts of raising a multilingual baby:

Do’s

  • – Make learning languages fun and creative, implementing multilingual videos, flashcards, storybooks, songs, and games (the latter as is appropriate for the age).
  • – Use the immersion technique. Since young children are able to differentiate between phonemes, which are the “sound elements or building blocks of language,” it makes sense that immersing them into an environment where they are continually hearing the language, teaches them effectively.
  • – Create a routine that you and the whole family can consistently stick with. Language learning videos, storybooks, and singing can be weaved into a routine for your child, making the whole concept of learning languages familiar and fun.
  • – Help your older (speaking) child to find opportunities to use his or her newly developed skills in the acquired language. This will build confidence, as well as give practice.

Don’ts

  • – Don’t judge the progress of your child’s advancement by what you see now. Even if your child is not speaking yet, the brain is absorbing the sound patterns, and it is creating new pathways that some day will be evident.
  • – Don’t make learning stressful with either a lot of rigorous-looking “work” or stressful because of your attitude as a parent. Although, you may have the routine you want to be consistent with, keep things light and fun. The whole process should be viewed positively. This is accomplished by using interesting, colorful foreign language materials.
  • – Don’t push your child too hard or too fast. As stated in the Do’s section, using the immersion technique with good quality material will acclimate your child to the language naturally.
  • – Don’t worry if you notice your child is mixing up languages – this is normal when learning another language. Over time, your child will get it straightened out.

multilingual-kidsLearning a second or third language is so much easier for a child, and in today’s world it is fast becoming a necessity to know more than one language. Many parents are taking the step to introduce their child to the wonderful world of language(s).

Little Pim’s award-winning language learning program has successfully helped many children on their journey. Parents are amazed at how wonderful the program works with their child. “Entertaining and engaging” are just some of the words used to express the learning materials. If you would like to learn more about this program, please comment below or contact us today!