It has always been very important to my husband and I (Krys) that our household be a bilingual one. We didn't need or expect Annemarie to speak both languages perfectly, but we wanted her to at least understand and have an awareness of the Spanish language. When I was approached by HITN Learning I was so excited to get a helping hand in having a successful bilingual household.
At HITN Learning they focus on the social, emotional and academic success of Hispanic and Latino children. Their mission is to provide parents with tools through media products in English and Spanish. They are the leading non-commercial Spanish-language network that offers educational and entertainment content to households around the United States.
To start off they gifted Annemarie a Cleo and Cuquin Family Sorting Math Kit & App. The kit includes a fun storybook, videos, games and activities in both digital and hands-on forms. Annemarie was able to follow along the popular YouTube characters Cleo & Cuquin as she learned sorting skills using the learning toys, games, videos, movement and singing, all through the Explore + Learn App!
I was very impressed with the Explore + Learn App that came paired with the kit and when I spoke to one of its developers at the event this past Saturday, I truly had an understanding of how thought out every component was developed. Even from the way the app tells the child to "try again" it is inviting and gives your child positive feedback to continue to try. I believe this is key when children are "putting themselves" out there with speaking a second language. Even as adults, we sometimes shy away from speaking Spanish because we second guess ourselves. The characters, Cleo and Cuquin are absolutely adorable, along with the music and graphics of the app.
The program truly goes hand in hand with some of the key points that guest speaker, Dr. Mariana Díaz-Wionczek, made this past Saturday at Barnes and Noble. Make learning a second language fun and practical for your little ones. She also made a very interesting point to not focus on the grammar but on the intent of using the language. Correcting them constantly may hinder them from wanting to try and be opened to using a second language. Additionally, she pointed out that bilingual households all look different, while some houses may be completely immersed in both languages, other may use an "on/off switch" where only parts of the day are spoken in a particular language. Many parents at the event had concerns once their little ones started school or as they got older. Her advise? Make them ask for things they want in Spanish or go back to that "on/off switch" activity.
As you have read, there are so many ways to encourage your little one to speak a second language. Making your child comfortable is key to letting them explore another language.
To explore or purchase the HITN Learning Kits, click on the links below: