Pin It
Monday, September 12th, 2011

The Influence of Bilingual Preschool Teachers

By

Lately, both of my girls have taken to calling my youngest, Lila, “Lilita.” Although they do not attend a bilingual Spanish preschool, two of the three teachers are native Spanish speakers. While they have Spanish class on Fridays, the influence of Spanish extends beyond the songs and words they learn on that day. The Spanish diminutive has crept into their English vocabulary with ease.

Meet lamby–the perfect example of this process. Lamby is Lila’s favorite lovey, one she has had since infancy. We live in fear of losing it since it was made in Germany and they don’t make any more of that model. Trust me, we tried to find it in every store in Frankfurt on our last trip to Germany. Lamby would go everywhere with Lila if it were permitted outside the house. She (I recently learned lamby was a ‘she’) likes to especially hang out in Lila’s mouth (she claims lamby likes this) or sometimes in her pants (I have ensured you’ll never want to touch it now). Lamby often tries to make an appearance at the dinner table, in the bathtub and on the potty but luckily Lila is learning that “lambys don’t sit on potties.”

In the past few weeks, lamby has been reborn as “lambita.” From a language perspective, my kids’ ability to incorporate and use the Spanish diminutive appropriately, especially when their primary language environment is English (and Arabic to a lesser degree), is fascinating. The other morning at breakfast, they asked for “honeyita” for their pancakes. My husband is now feeling a little envious they don’t integrate Arabic language-isms with such fluidity. Lambita provides an interesting window into understanding how much the languages that they are exposed to in the dominant language environment (school) impact their language development. My oldest has also started to express a real interest in learning Spanish, which has me very excited but also full of questions–should I switch my language to Spanish since I am capable of teaching her? Am I prepared and do I have the energy to make that change in our household? These are the things I am contemplating. While it would be amazing if my girls actually knew enough Spanish to say mielecita and ovejita, I am all for honeyita and lambita for the moment.

© 2011 – 2013, Stephanie Meade. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Stephanie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent. She has two Moroccan-American daughters (ages 5 and 6), whom she is raising, together with her husband, bilingual in Arabic and English at home, while also introducing Spanish. After many moves worldwide, she currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Leave us a comment!

2 Comments
  1. CommentsJennifer Brunk   |  Friday, 16 September 2011 at 11:35 am

    What a great story! Often we have to trust that the exposure to languages and cultures is impacting our children. We know it is, but It’s not always easy to see (or hear). This is a wonderful, tangible example!

  2. Commentsthrilling true life memoir/biograpgy   |  Wednesday, 19 February 2014 at 3:30 am

    We’ve discussed your site for the duration of my social assistance systems!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon

More Raising Bilingual Children