The Urgency of Cultural Understanding
Posted by Helena Eddings
Today, the urgency of educating our young children in the languages and cultures of others is heightened. We’re all connected instantaneously via technology and personally experience the complexity of worldwide social, ethnic, religious, political, and natural systems. Awareness and understanding increase the possibility of cooperation and collaboration to make the world a better place for all living things.
If you are fortunate enough to have family members or neighbors who speak another language or celebrate customs from another land, cultivate that connection, build a friendship. Ask them to share stories. Taste their food. Demonstrate appreciation for their differences.
Very young children are fascinated by the idea that others speak differently and live differently. And they are uninhibited, open to new ideas, new ways of thinking. It is the ideal time to begin their cultural education. They greedily absorb language and subtle meaning and have the capacity to learn new sounds easily.
Teaching young children a second language is a priceless experience that many American children are not offered until way too late in their school experience when they are self-conscious and new languages do not come easily. However, if you are resourceful and determined there are online options even for the very young.
Search the internet for pictures of other lands. Let your children hold a globe and talk to them about the world. Children as young as 3 years old are intrigued by discussions of far-away places. Borrow books and DVDs from the library. If you have the opportunity to take your children to the ocean you can strike their imaginations by talking about the vastness of the water and how it both separates and connects us. A moonrise walk on a deserted beach is an amazing opportunity to talk about children on the other side of the world who are waking up to the sunrise.
Make a conscious effort to expose your children to what lies beyond. It is the best preparation for living in a connected world.
The Hour Of Code
Posted by Claire Aerdeman
“The Hour of Code” is celebrated across the world December 5-11, 2016. ‘The Hour of Code’ was created to show that anybody can learn the basics in computer science. Learn more here.
During the month of December, students in Technology class will be coding. The classes will be programming robotics, completing coding on the computer, and some will be completing “unplugged” activities.
In addition to the lessons in class, students are invited to come to an open-lab and code with their friends. If your child would like extra time coding, please sign them up for one spot.
This event will take place in the Technology lab from 3:30-4:30.
If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Christen.
Please click HERE to register your child!
Buy Local Sale – December 2 from 2 to 5 pm
Posted by Roberta Handel
Join us at the Annual Buy Local Sale organized by West Side Middle School! You will be able to shop at attending local vendors: Construction Artifacts, Ten Thousand Villages, Klearly Krafty Occasions & Designs, Usborne Books, Broken Tree Honey and Candles, Mary Kay, Sombrabella, Simply Sweet Treats, Three Dog Bakery, Artshark, Stella and Dot, Sub Rosa Tea, Made with Love, and Izzy’s Fizzies.
Sam Thomas, Monarch student, will be collecting donations for the World
Wildlife Foundation! You may adopt an animal and receive a gift pack for your child or you may just make a monetary donation. Click HERE to see all species you can adopt.
World Languages for Toddlers, Preschool and Beyond…
Posted by Claire Aerdeman
When is the best time to learn a second or third language?
The earlier the better, according to research. During the sensitive period for language—from birth to about age six—children learn the primary language spoken at home and school at a rapid pace. They also have a remarkable ability to learn and even fluently speak other languages.
Over the past year, articles like Why Bilinguals Are Smarter and Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language in the New York Times have examined new research on the cognitive benefits of learning foreign languages early. It turns out, they say, that learning other languages improves not only linguistic skills but also cognitive abilities like executive functioning.
Prime times for language acquisition
From birth to age 6, the “absorbent mind” soaks up information like a sponge. The child uses all five senses to absorb and understand information about the surrounding environment at home and in school.
Within this stage, the period from age 1.5 to 3 or 4 is marked by a “language explosion” as the child rapidly expands vocabulary and develops more sophisticated use of language. It is also a prime time to learn another language.
Developing an ear and getting a head start
Children are able to pick it up quickly and with enthusiasm. They are not inhibited and are willing to speak it without fear. It provides them with a better ear for the language. They pick up the sounds and can duplicate them naturally, and the younger they start the more likely they will develop a native-like accent.
(photo credit: Joyce Hesselberth)
Article Credit: Inly insights – Montessori Blog
World Language Event
Posted by Claire Aerdeman
Are you interested in learning more about world language at West Side Montessori?
Join us for a free language class with our language expert on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 am. Open to the public. Call to reserve your spot 419-866-1931.