TIPS for Parents
Remember that we will be following the 2 GOLDEN RULES for language learning REPETITION and CONSISTENCY.
In this article, we will take a look at how you can best use the website and the activities it offers to help your child have a great experience learning Spanish at home.
What you can do
• Go for shorter but more frequent sessions. It may be hard for a young child to concentrate on learning for a long time. The website offers activities that are short and fun, but remember to do them often – frequent repetition is key to learning a foreign language.
• Do a lot of listening. Listening is one of the first language skills humans develop, and it is central to mastering a foreign language, especially for your kids. On the website, you can find a lot of listening activities, including fun songs and videos in the Spanish language.
• Make it fun. Children learn more effectively when they are entertained. On the website, you can find a large variety of learning materials – choose the ones that your child and you will enjoy the most.
• Speak the language. If you already know some Spanish, use it when doing activities on the website with your child – they will feel more comfortable speaking the language as they learn it from you the way they learned their mother tongue.
• Move around. Add some physical activity to the activities on the website, follow my directions, dance to the songs, do the actions, repeat the words when prompted, answer the questions, act out the stories. These compliments learning in a great way and helps kids remember the language better.
• Interact. Children learn through interaction and imitation can leave them alone with the website or do the activity together.
• Change things up. Even if you particularly enjoy one activity, it is important to vary language learning sessions for more effective learning. The website has you covered: it offers a wide variety of materials covering different skills and language aspects.
• The website offers fun quizzes that you can use to check your child’s progress. But remember, having fun is more important at this stage than perfect scores.
• Encourage don’t force. Rather than make them go and learn Spanish, invite them to play games, do a quiz, etc whatever their favourite activities are. Make it a treat for them not a chore. Get your child excited about learning new things in Spanish.
• Ask them to help you learn or to teach you something show interest rather than constantly testing them and asking what they have learnt
• Use your membership as a FUN break from their school lessons and homework doing their favourite activities.
• Don’t tell off your child for making mistakes – it creates negative associations with learning the language and demotivates children, instead think of every mistake as a learning opportunity and create a positive environment to cultivate a love for Spanish.
• Positive reinforcement. If you are helping your child, remember to be positive. Praise them every chance you get and celebrate their achievements together
• Correcting all the time. This can be just as demotivating and discouraging as excessive testing or telling off. If your child makes a mistake, go over the activity once again or choose another activity on the website on the same topic.
Learning techniques and activities
• Watch a lesson on the website together with your child.
• Listen to the songs, do the actions, sing and dance along.
• Play an online game, repeat words from the game out loud.
• Do a fun quiz to check their progress.
• Get to your child to remember, say out loud and write down as many key phrases or words as they can after an activity.
• While doing any of the written activities, games, crafts, cooking, etc, make sure you use the language in Spanish.
Find a Special Place
• If you can pick a special space to learn Spanish, even a corner in their bedroom and get them involved in choosing the place, if you will have a table, or where in the wall can you put flashcards/ posters where will they store their work, perhaps a nice carpet, where will their Spanish toy sit, etc.
• You can name things around them in Spanish with index cards for example “la mesa” the table, “el ordenador” the computer, “la silla” the chair, “el lápiz” the pencil, “la caja de materiales” the materials box, etc.(*remember to always use the correct articles “el”, “la”).Let them write the labels themselves, stick them with cello tape.
• Make this a fun activity and make it enjoyable put some songs in Spanish, song “hola amigo”, use coloured paper, decorate their Spanish corner, etc.
Simply put, you can help your child learn Spanish by creating a positive environment and joining them in a variety of fun language learning activities. Try out the ideas and resources suggested above – they will help your child learn Spanish without excessive cramming or getting bored.