Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Non-Native Treasure Trove: La Vie de Mon Doudou

Poppette loves her doudou.

For her second birthday (a few months ago now but I’ve only just got around to writing this post) Papa and I thought it would be a great idea to buy her a book in which Doudou was the star attraction.

Step forward La Vie de Mon Doudou - a brilliant French website that creates books in French where either your child or their doudou are the main protagonist.

In the interests of total honesty, I definitely think that Papa and I rate the whole idea far higher than Poppette herself. She seemed a little sceptical about the fact that it really was her Doudou. We picked the jungle theme which shows Doudou frolicking with various jungle animals in their natural habitat. Poppette must, and quite rightly too, have wondered how on earth Doudou could have made such a trip when he is never away from her side.

It's not the cheapest of gifts....and I did find myself wondering if I couldn't have created something of similar quality myself with Photoshop and a little patience!!! Still, it’s definitely worth thinking about as a gift if you want something highly personalised and original and your Photoshop skills are as lacking as mine.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Non-Native Thought for the Day #5

One remarkable and definitely enviable thing about learning languages consecutively from birth is that the words come with no baggage, no preconceived ideas about what does and doesn't sound right and no mental blocks around the pronunciation of certain sounds.

The languages simply are what they are.

What a wonderful way to be able to see the world. From a position of acceptance, free of questions, doubts and insecurities.

I often get a reminder of this wonderful phenomenon when I listen to Poppette speak. She often freely uses words that I remember finding either hard to learn or perhaps ones that in the past I had avoided using as they just sounded odd to someone who's brain is hard wired first and foremost to the sounds of the English language.

This morning was a great example. Poppette (28 months) bounded out of the front door and exclaimed " [ Il ] fait [ du ] brouillard [it's foggy]. Now you don't get many words less English sounding and, therefore, more technically difficult to grasp as a starting French language learner than brouillard!

When words and phrases like this jump out of her mouth it makes me very happy that we chose to teach her both her languages together. It reminds me that there are so many benefits to doing it this way.

Another very handy benefit is never having to learn the gender of nouns! Oh what a delight... imagine just knowing that, regardless of whether it's a boy or a girl, a baby is un bébé and that an apple is une pomme whilst a grape is un raisin. I am so happy that my children will never have to grapple with genders because they will just instinctively know....

The flip side of that is, of course, that I need to be darned careful about making mistakes just in case they become hardwired into their little brains....grrrr.....more revision then!

Friday, 15 February 2013

That's My Girl

Poppette, who just turned 28 months old, came out with a corker today. We were sat in her room reading bedtime stories and she picked a new Lucy Cousins book Hooray for Fish which Papa had read to her for the past couple of days in English.

I started to translate on the hoof and Poppette looked up immediately and we had the following exchange:-

Poppette: Anglais [English]

Me: Tu veux que je te lise en anglais? [Do you want me to read to you in English?]

Poppette: Non. Papa anglais, Maman français. [No. Daddy English, Mummy French]

That's my girl :-D

Monday, 4 February 2013

Stumbling Block

I'm feeling a little at sea today and would really appreciate any guidance any of you guys might have.

I've been flirting with the idea of teaching Poppette her alphabet. Not in a formal drill table type way but through crafts and colouring and the like. I had initially intended to teach her the French alphabet whilst letting Papa and nursery teach her the English one. Then I started to worry a little; what if learning both at the same time was just plain confusing? Also... how do the French teach their alphabet? I know the English alphabet is taught using phonics these days... I'd need to do some research into how it works in France if I were to go ahead.

Anyhow, today I called Poppette's nursery and asked when and how they go about it. It appears that I'm a little ahead of the curve and that typically they wouldn't start teaching Poppette (who is now 27.5 months) for roughly 6 months and, even, then it would be a very slow introduction. That said, they did say that if a child shows interest then it's great to let them learn earlier but the danger is that, if they don't like it, it could put them off good and proper!

What to do?

What do other people do?

What do you do?

Today is one of those days where I need to reach out and ask for your advice or even just some information about how it works in your family.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Non-Native Treasure Trove - Teachers Pay Teachers - An Educational Printables Website Covering Many Languages

I've stumbled across another great website www.teacherspayteachers.com where educators upload fantastic printables that you can download for a small fee.

There are flashcards, educational games, themed learning activities such as the alphabet, colours and numbers and much much more.

The search engine isn't as user friendly as I would like....or perhaps I'm just useless :D

I have found, for example, that you can't just select either the French or the Ressources en Français option in the dropdown menu to reveal everything they have in those sections, you also have to take a stab at something you're interested in and type it into the search engine to see what it reveals e.g.  Alphabet . This makes me think I probably haven't seen half of what there is on offer yet.

That said, if you're looking for English language resources the whole thing seems far easier.

They also cover French, German, Hebrew, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Spanish and Portuguese with a catchall category for 'other (Foreign Languages)'. There is another really helpful option to select the age group you need, starting at Pre-K right through to Adult Education and there's a separate option for Homeschooling.

If you take a look, let me know what you think....especially if you find something useful as I may well not have seen it yet :D