Category Archives: Parenting

Preschools of the World and Bogotá, Colombia

Recently I was able to visit my home country of Bogotá, Colombia. I traveled with my 15 month old and we had a blast. The trip was filled with the usual ups and downs that come along with many hours of flight and change in routine. However he had a great adventure. I watched him explore the new scenery within the busy cosmopolitan city that is Bogotá and enjoy the beauty of it’s surrounding hills and mountains. One of the highlights of our visit was a morning as a guest in the preschool, Mi Pequeño Mundo. My son and I took in the sun and greenery as we toured the school. He played in the difference in play structures and enjoyed a glimpse of preschool in another country.

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Mi Pequeño Mundo, Bogotá, Colombia

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Preschools of the world.

 

This preschool although in a the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, a city of 8 million inhabitants, has a large beautiful green terrain. Here children run and play in varied outdoor playgrounds when they’re not busy in class. I loved seeing the excitement of the children, from having a guest visitor, while others worked and focused on their classes and tasks. We got the pleasure to attend a music class. In the class the teacher played the accordion! Since the holidays are soon approaching we danced to and sang a few villancicos Colombianos (Christmas carols). We also had the opportunity to visit a cooking class. In this school students take a cooking class once week. As we walked in the room the air was full of the scent of sweet dough baking in an oven. Children here bake cookies, cakes and Colombian food such as arepas.

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Playing is key for children to learn.

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Classroom in Bogotá, Colombia.

Have you had a chance to visit other preschools of the world? What ideas have you brought back with you? As for us, we will start making traditional food from Colombia together. I think these holidays we’ll make chocolate caliente and arepas con queso.

 

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Do you use a chalkboard in your classroom?

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Creating a friendly environment for children.

 

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Moving, running and playing is all part of learning.

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Tuckered out after a day of playing and learning at preschool.

By Alex Mendez

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It’s almost Thanksgiving Day, Let’s Teach Children to Express Gratitude

¡Gracias! Thank you! Thanksgiving Day let’s teach children to express gratitude.

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Let’s Teach Children to Express Gratitude.

As children we were all told to say those words to express gratitude for someone’s kindness.  Raising polite and grateful little humans has always been the job of the adults.  Of course, children copy what they see and hear, particularly from their parents.  When was the last time you were able to reflect on your gratitude?  What are you thankful for this year?  Today?

When November hits the calendar, many families start making plans for Thanksgiving Day.  What’s for dinner?  Who are we inviting to share it with us?  What do we need to buy for the groceries?  Will our favorite football team be playing a game on TV?  We are often in a rush to do the holiday “right” that we bypass the true sentiment of the holiday.  Since the focus becomes so much on the success of the Thanksgiving Day feast, it may be easier and more meaningful to focus on the things and people we are thankful for as soon as the month of November hits the calendar.

This November, challenge your family members to think about their gratitude each day of the month.  This is a fun and easy task for each family member because age is not a barrier for this activity.  All you need are a pencil, small pieces of paper and a container such as a mason jar, an empty pail or a big manila envelope.  Ask each family member to write down something they feel thankful for, and help the little ones write down their thoughts, too.  The young ones can also draw a quick picture and you can write down their explanation of the drawing.  Do this each day, and place the pieces of paper in the container your family chooses to use.

Do this each day of the month, and on Thanksgiving Day during dinner take the Container of Thankfulness and share the sentiments in it.  It will be uplifting to hear all of the beautiful words each of your family members has shared for the month.  Whether someone is thankful for relatives, a toy, or an event that occurred on a particular day, it will be a delight to relive those thoughts together.  Moreover, it will build a habit in your children.  Your children will learn that regardless of how tough things may seem on a particular day we all have plenty for which we should be grateful.

I encourage you to try this small activity with your family.  Expressing and feeling gratitude is what brings humanity together.  This activity will give you a glimpse into the hearts of your family members while also giving you the opportunity to share your sentiments with them.

There is so much to give thanks for each day.  Reflect and have fun.

~By Diana P. a “mamá latina”

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Zipping and zooming. Teaching Spanish during car trips.

Teaching Spanish during car trips and let’s not leave out…the fun! 

 Autumn has officially arrived.  The fall leaves are turning colors, the air is crisper, and daylight hours are getting shorter.  Of course, by now, most of our kids are back at school, and their English language conversation has increased as they get instructions from their teacher and socialize with their friends.  We must work a little harder to continue to instill the Spanish language in the homes.

Gone is the summer where days were spent chatting with grandma in Español, or watching a Spanish program.  We don’t have time for that!  We have schedules to keep up with and homework to take care of daily.  Yet, we want our children to speak Spanish.  We want them to enjoy the gift of a second language.  Regardless of whether parents are native speakers or not, it’s time to instill some tricks to the Spanish bag.

Whether we are zipping to soccer practice, zooming to school, or zipping and zooming to visit relatives in the months ahead, let’s use the car ride to our advantage!

  •  Play Spanish music.  There are many children’s music artists that will delight the young ones, but there are also artists that will excite the older kids and adults alike.  Before long, the entire family will be singing along to their favorite Spanish tunes!
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El Camión, Free Coloring Sheet from Monarca Language

  •  Print out some worksheets, and keep them handy in one’s car.  Make sure to carry a pencil and eraser, or crayons in your car.  When you arrive early to swim or music class, these will come in handy and keep your child thinking in Spanish.

 

 

 

  • Make car rides strictly a “Spanish Speaking Zone”.  This works great even if you do not know Spanish.  Your child will have fun teaching you something that you don’t know.  Your child can pretend play that he is the Spanish teacher, and you are the student.  You can discuss colors, numbers, and shapes.  The vocabulary is endless.
  • Spanish books on tape.  Start out with short books that are already familiar to your family.  Familiar stories are always a welcome treat for kids.  If you also have a copy of the book for your child, let your child read along with the book on tape.

By maximizing our time in the car with our family, we are increasing our children’s auditory, literary and oral understanding of the Spanish language.  The added bonus is that through our collaborative teaching and learning of Spanish, we will create wonderful memories that will ultimately provide the gift of a lifetime.  Enjoy making your car trips “solamente en Español” (Spanish only).

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El helicóptero, Free Coloring Printable from Monarca Language

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Transportation Domino Game, Free Coloring Printable from Monarca Language

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~By Diana P. a “mamá latina”

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Spanish Children’s Music Giveaway and Baila Baila

Spanish children’s music giveaway with Baila Baila! Yes! Dance, dance and sing and twirl and do the cha, cha, cha while listening to fun Spanish lyrics from the Amarillo album from Baila Baila.

Baila Baila is a music group created by Isabel Brazon a dedicated teacher who is originally from Venezuela.  Their group combines traditional Spanish music as well as original works lovingly created by Isabel.

The Amarillo album from Baila Baila is a delight to listen to.  My toddler and I highly enjoy it. It’s the perfect music to dance along to, filled with a happy energetic tempo. It’s also fantastic car music, with simple to learn and follow lyrics, in Spanish, that will make it easy for everyone to sing along to. (A great tool to have when sitting in those congested traffic jams while you try to entertain your little one and avoid the sitting in the car chair meltdown.)

The Amarillo album has varied entertaining songs. Some teach a simple greeting in Spanish with a catchy melody (“Hola”), to others about colors or animals (“Amarillo”, “Diana la Rana” or “La Finca Baila Baila”) in which your child will sing about the yellow sun, the blue world, or enjoy making farm animal sounds. The Baila Baila music will also inspire lively dancing with songs such as “Toca Mi Tambor” or “Cha, Cha, Cha”.

In conclusion this album from Baila Baila is fun, catchy and very danceable music. It is an album that both my young toddler and I truly enjoy and best of all we practice our Spanish while we wiggle, bounce and groove to its fun tunes.

Spanish Children’s Music Giveaway ~ We are giving away an Amarillo CD to one lucky winner, use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review by Alex Mendez

If you like this album, listen to the Monarca Language’s Las Aventuras de Tutuca.

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Simple Back to School Tips for Parents

La Maleta, El Area de Trabajo, y Los Días de la Semana!

What is the solution for your child’s success when going back to school?… Below are three easy back to school tips for parents by Diana P. a “mamá latina” of two on how she helps herself, her child and their teacher have a smooth transition into the new school year. 

~A new school year is here!  It is the perfect time for families to establish new routines to prepare for a successful school year.  To help get your families get ready for school, I have listed an easy top three list that is sure to make your child’s school year as easy as the ABC’s.

  1. Buy a backpack with ONE zipper/pocket.  One!  Not two, three or nine zippers and pockets.  A simple backpack with one zipper will make finding homework, permission slips and lunch money easier for you, your child and his teacher.  Yes, sometimes the teacher wants a signed permission slip only to have the child tell his teacher that he cannot find it in his backpack.  Guess who has to fish through his backpack at school?  Now imagine if each of her 25 students asked for her help with their backpacks?  Let’s make everyone’s life easier and buy a backpack with ONE zipper, and therefore ONE pocket!
  2. Have a designated spot at home for the backpack.  A handy place to keep it is where the child will do her homework.  The child can take her homework out, complete it, and put it in the backpack when she is done.  In the morning, your child will know exactly where her backpack is located.  There won’t be a need for The Great Backpack Expedition before each school day in search of the backpack that needs to get to school, too.
  3. One word – CALENDAR!  Get your child used to being responsible for his own school schedule and items.  Schools are teaching this as young as Kindergarten!  A small wall calendar designated specifically for school will do the trick.  For the children that cannot read yet, draw a book on the day of the week that his class has library day, or a ball on days gym class requires him to wear sneakers.  Calendars work well with the older kids, too.  If your child has music class, swim practice, or a big assignment due, a visual will help keep the child on task.  Plus, the calendar will help your child get ready the night before.  On Monday night, if your child sees he has library scheduled the next day, he will be responsible for making sure his library books are in his backpack.

Enjoy this school year as your child embarks on another year of learning and growth, and may these tips make the journey a little smoother.  Happy School Year!~ Diana P.

Did we hear, teach young children the days of the week? The Monarca Language educational material includes the days of the week worksheets for your child. Es facil! Lunes, Martes, Miércoles…and check out our free printables too.

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