Ways Teachers Can Learn Children’s Home Languages

10. Make a list of 10-20 survival words like eat, nap, bathroom, hurt, help, stop, and ‘mommy will be here soon’. Print on a card and send home with a mini-recorder so parents can write and record pronunciations their child will recognize.

9. Get some bilingual children’s music. You can find songs on CDs or Itunes that have familiar melodies used to teach you a few words, like “hello” and “goodbye” in the new language.

8. Then get songs that are familiar to you but are sung entirely in the new language for additional practice.

7. Sneak in to the classroom library area and read the bilingual storybooks when the children aren’t there.

6. Find children’s books in both languages that come with CDs so you can hear the correct pronunciations, then play in your car or ipod for extra experience.

5. Watch a familiar movie in the new language with English subtitles. If you know it, you’ll recognize more of the language and you’ll have the English words to help.

4. Play games in other languages, like www.kingkagames.com that come with CDs so you can learn the words associated with images and practice with adults or children

3. If you want to practice more advanced Spanish for preschool, order from www.NAEYC.org the TYC magazine for teachers in English and Spanish and stretch your reading ability in both languages.

2. Organize language learning groups for teachers and staff – maybe everyone can agree to speak only Vietnamese during lunch one day a week.

1. Ask the children! Don’t be afraid to try new words because they love to be the experts that help you learn the right way to say things in their language!

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