As we all gear up for the sometimes overwhelming start of a new school year, I thought I’d introduce an easy and simple way to bring culture and language into your home: Language Culture Basket. Making time outside weekly language classes is tough in all our busy lives. Finding ways to bring the learning into the home is important. As much as we would like to attend ten hours of Sponge classes each week, that won’t happen for most of us for a lot of reasons. So, supplementing the classes in your home and community is a good idea.
Language Culture Basket
My parenting approach, generally, is to create an environment for my children (ages 3 and 1.5) that fosters independence and self directed learning. So we have lots of learning around our home from maps on the wall to kitchen utensils within our boys’ reach to a dressing basket to help with day time and night tome dressing. A Language and Culture Basket is one way to peak your child’s interest and curiosity in the world and language without overwhelming them. If you build it, they will come, right? Have faith, parents, the learning will happen.
In our home, we have a Reading Corner in our Play & Learning space. Within that space we created the Language and Culture Basket to bring in global perspective and exposure to second language, in our case, specifically, Mandarin. By presenting a variety of fictional and non-fictional children’s books in this basket we hope to introduce tradition and culture from all over the world.
- Mix it up – We focus on Mandarin but bring in other languages and culture, especially when a big holiday within that culture, like Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, for example, is within that month.
- Rotate – I visit the library often and rotate books to keep it interesting for my children.
- Less is More – Choose a medium sized basket and fill it. Don’t pile in the books, add a few at a time, all visible to the child at first glance on the basket.
Our basket is situated in the play area, next to a bookshelf, rocking chair and another small sitting chair not too far from our maps. The basket includes several books geared towards teaching kids Mandarin, a Chinese nursery rhyme book, National Geographic World Atlas for Kids, Toot & Puddle’s Top of the World book, Gordon & Lili’s sweet Mandarin books, a guide book that accompanied an education Mandarin DVD and an extensive Chinese vocabulary book.
Amazon and our local libraries have excellent resources and search for children’s books from all around and about the world. I will be sharing a few of our favorites along the way. Here area few to get you started on your language and culture basket. So simple. You have to do it.
Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery in English & Spanish
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