Three tips to get little ones to engage during storytime

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Three tips to get little ones to engage during storytime

By Julie Barton

Sometimes, reading to a little one can be hard! They wiggle, they squirm. You might think “are they even listening? What does it matter, anyway?”

Having a Ph.D. in Literature and a Masters in Children’s Literature, I’m here to let you know it matters, and it matters a lot! The earliest years of a child’s life form the basis of all later learning – in fact, in their first three years, your baby is forming a million neural connections every second. Sharing books with your little one, in addition to being a wonderful time for the two of you to bond, builds a love of books and of learning that will last for the rest of their childhood and beyond.

How can you use beautiful children’s books, like those from Canticos, to support this important time? Tandem’s “three tips” for early literacy are great ways to start your child’s bilingual education. 

  1. Follow the child’s pace. Let your child lead – if they want to read the same page over and over, or skip to the end, that’s ok. Let them understand that they can be in control of the story, and they will get even more excited.
  2. Make it a conversation. Ask lots and lots of questions, and try for open-ended questions as much as possible. This means, instead of “what color is that puppy?”, ask, “That puppy sure is silly! What silly things do you think she did yesterday?”
  3. Have fun! Reading, telling stories, and spending time with your child are all joyful activities. Use funny voices, make movements, and have fun with the book and with the story.

So, keep doing what you’re doing, and enjoy all Canticos has to offer with your little ones, and start gaining those bilingual benefits. (And if your children are really little, eating books and flipping pages are the first signs of “print awareness”, so celebrate it when they steal the book out of your hands.)

About the Author

Julie Barton is determined to never be “too old” to read books for children. With a Ph.D. in Literature and a Masters in Children’s Literature, she is the Development Director at Tandem, Partners in Early Learning and believes that quality children’s literature can change the world. Connect with her @JulieBartonPhD or with @Tandem_BayArea.

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Nursery Rhymes: A Great Tool For Early Literacy

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Nursery Rhymes: A Great Tool For Early Literacy
By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

Nursery rhymes are not only fun little songs to keep your little ones entertained, they’re also great tools to help them learn and grow in their bilingual proficiency!

 As they sing, move, and dance, kids are building language, motor, and many more skills.  

 As a Latina mom, I know how important it is to ensure that fun activities be also learning opportunities. 

It’s for this reason that I love the power of nursery rhymes. 

Here are just a few of the benefits of nursery rhymes for baby and toddler development.  

Nursery rhymes can:

  • Develop early literacy skills: Through fun rhymes and catchy bilingual songs, kids learn phonics and vocabulary effortlessly.  Nursery rhymes books can be a child’s first exposure to literacy and provide a rich oral and visual experience.
  • Create connections and build community: For parents, these songs provide an opportunity to connect through music and play. For kids, knowing common songs helps them connect with other kids in preschool, the library, and everywhere they go.  The familiar nature of nursery rhymes connects families across generations and across locations. 
  • Build memory capabilities: Repetition is a great way to develop memory capabilities that go beyond the songs and can be applied to any activity.  
  • Improve fine motor skills and coordination: Picture little fingers mimicking a spider climbing up a water spout. Now think of the palm of a child’s hand honking on an imaginary horn going “beep beep beep”. These actions help little ones move their bodies and work on coordination. 
  • Provide hours of fun: Whether through songs (try searching YouTube kids music), books, or even an app in Spanish, these children’s songs provide endless entertainment, smiles, giggles, and more! There’s nothing better than that!

So next time you’re singing Wheels On The Bus for the n-teenth time, smile, you’re giving your little one the gift of learning…all through the town!

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A Teacher’s Perspective: How to Help Preschoolers Learn Spanish

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A Teacher’s Perspective:
How to Help Preschoolers Learn Spanish

By Carolina Dammert with Jheymy Rivera

Jheymy Rivera really knows what it takes to raise bilingual kids. Not only does she have two kids of her own, but she is also the Lead Teacher at ¡HolaKids! Spanish Immersion Preschool in California. We spoke to Jheymy to get insights on how to help kids learn Spanish from an expert’s perspective. Here is what she had to say.

HOW EARLY CAN PARENTS START INTRODUCING A SECOND LANGUAGE?

There is extensive evidence that a child is never too young to be exposed to a second language. In fact, the earlier they learn it, the better. We need to take advantage of the fact that their brains are like little sponges and immerse them in a second language as much as we can, especially in the first three years of their lives. 

HOW CAN A PARENT, WHO DOESN’T SPEAK SPANISH, HELP THEIR KIDS LEARN THE LANGUAGE?

This is one of the most common questions I hear from the parents in our program. My answer is: consistency and patience. If you want your child to be bilingual, you need to remember that it won’t happen overnight as there will be times that your child will prefer to speak English and will refuse to speak Spanish, especially if you regularly communicate with them in English.  I always encourage parents who are learning Spanish themselves, to keep including Spanish in their daily routines as this will help make speaking Spanish a family activity. Families can improve their shared learning by watching Spanish movies, tuning into a Spanish radio station, playing Spanish music and listening to Spanish ebooks. The more you are exposed to the second language, the better results you will all see. Model to your child that speaking Spanish is important to you. Get ready to be overtaken by your child in the first year though.  Soon, your child will soon start correcting YOUR pronunciation!

HOW QUICKLY DO YOU SEE A NEW STUDENT BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND SPANISH?

Each child is different but on average what we experience at ¡HolaKids!, where we’ve had hundreds and hundreds of children, is that students start to understand simple instructions as soon as the first month and use simple sentences between 3 to 6 months into the program.  Again, if they have Spanish as part of their daily routine, the language becomes a natural habit. Initially, we encourage our children to use simple sentences like “AYUDA POR FAVOR,” (help please) every time they need help, or to say “AGUA” instead of water. Little by little they acquire more vocabulary through confidence and routine.

WHAT ARE THE TOOLS YOU USE TO TEACH SPANISH?

I had to learn a second language when I first came to this country at 17.  I remember how hard it was at first and how many times I wanted to give up. What helped me and what we use in the classroom all the time is tons of visuals.  Books are so important, and every kid loves books, which are like a little movie they are able to play in their head every time you read to them. Parents can do this too regardless of their level of Spanish.  We also use colorful picture cards with the vocabulary we want to introduce, and songs, because music is such an important tool when you are learning something new (everything is more fun and attractive with music!). My favorite thing to do with my students is to put on a little show of their favorite story using puppets, and little by little they memorize the whole book. I love to see them do that. 

WHAT ARE SOME TECHNIQUES YOU USE WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER STUDENTS WHO DON’T WANT TO SPEAK SPANISH? HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE THEM?

First, I want to identify why the child doesn’t like to speak Spanish.  Is it the pronunciation? Is it because it is new and they don’t understand it? If pronunciation is the problem, then we can introduce the vowels through songs and little by little some of the consonants. Then, we can work on the words that are difficult in a fun way.  For example, let’s say a child is having a hard time saying MOCHILA. In that case, I would separate the word  MO CHI LA, and practice it one syllable at a time. Celebrate each syllable and let the the student know they are doing a great job. Who doesn’t like to be recognized for their effort?

WHAT TYPE OF ACTIVITIES CAN FAMILIES DO AT HOME TO REINFORCE SPANISH WITH THEIR KIDS?

Books are always number one, but it also helps to use music. Learn the vocabulary of simple items at home. Refer to parts of the house in Spanish instead of English (it is OK to use Post-It notes to help parents remember too!).  The best approach is to use Spanish as part of the daily routine. Instead of “time to brush our teeth” use “hora de lavarse los dientes.” Dinner time  becomes “a cenar” and remember consistency, consistency, consistency. In this way, a family bridges the child’s school experience with experiences at home, reinforcing that the family sees speaking in Spanish as a family value, not just something that is expected of the child.  Helping your child become bilingual is an invaluable gift.  You are helping your child gain confidence in their ability to have the perspective of a multitasker, to have better life opportunities, and you are opening the door to cultural flexibility and understanding.  Plus, there’s always the fact that it gets easier for your child to learn a 3rd language in the future!

It is not easy but it is so worth it!

Jheymy Rivera is the Lead Teacher at ¡HolaKids! Spanish Immersion Preschool at the Corte Madera campus in Marin, California. She started her teaching career at ¡HolaKids! over six years ago and is raising two bilingual children, Emilia, 18 months, and Santiago, 3.5 years old.

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Best Tips For Bilingualism- Continuing The Tradition

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Best Tips For Bilingualism- Continuing The Tradition

By Monika Leal and Paula Niño

Being bilingual allows us to communicate with more people, appreciate other cultures and enjoy many cognitive benefits.

We’ve experienced this first hand since we’re both bilingual and learned English at a young age. So when our daughters were born, we knew we wanted to  teach them Spanish, but our reasons at that moment came more from the heart.

As Latina moms, Spanish is at the core of our cultural identity. It’s connected to our childhood and the people we love, so we couldn’t imagine our daughters not having the language to communicate with our families, or not being able to participate in cultural traditions that were important to us. 

 

We felt passionately about this and dabbled with the idea of doing a blog to share resources with other parents raising Spanish speakers. Earlier this year, the idea for a podcast came up, and in April, Entre Dos was born.

Our goal was to help and inspire other parents of bilingual children by having conversations around bilingual parenting. Every family and child is different but the one thing we all share is that, no matter which language we’re teaching our child, getting them to maintain it and perfect it in an English-dominant environment takes a lot of effort. 

One of the most common challenges we hear about is parents not having enough opportunities to expose their kids to that second language. We’re lucky to live in cities with strong Spanish-speaking populations and bilingual schools, but when that’s not the case, parents may feel discouraged and alone. That’s why we wanted to create a community to help each other out and offer a little motivation. We sometimes need it too!

Raising our daughters and doing Entre Dos has taught us a lot, but perhaps the biggest lesson we’ve learned is to just relax. We’re doing what we can and there is not one right way to raise a bilingual child. We used to fret about our kids speaking Spanglish or only in English, but some of these things are just a normal part of bilingual education. Instead, we’ve tried to focus on the bigger picture. 

One of our guests gave us an excellent piece of advice. He told us that we should aim to raise children who in their teens or early adulthood take it upon themselves to continue to maintain the language we’ve taught them. As parents, we can do this by instilling a sense of pride in our kids about their bilingualism. Show them what a gift it is. They will appreciate it.

Three tips for parents:

  • Read, read, read – It’s the best way to expose your children to the minority language at home.
  • Make language learning fun – There may be times when you feel that you’re constantly asking your kid to say things en español, but always remember to lighten up. Dance, sing songs, watch bilingual children’s shows, play Latino games from your childhood. Give them a reason to love the language.
  • This is a long game Bilingual proficiency doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term, non-linear process. If you do everything you can to provide enough exposure and opportunities to use the target language, the odds are in your favor. 

About the authors

Monika Leal and Paula Niño Kehr are the founders of Entre Dos Podcast, a podcast about raising bilingual children. Monika is from Puerto Rico and mom to Zoé, 4, and Paula is from Colombia and mom to Emilia, 6.

 

Readers can find Entre Dos Podcast on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @entredospodcast.

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Give your kids some extra lovin’ this Valentine’s Day

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Give your kids some extra lovin’ this Valentine’s Day

By Carolina Dammert

Yes, I’ll admit it, Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday! From the hearts, to the colors, to all the cheesy one liners! I love it all.

To me, the importance of this holiday comes not only from the fact that I get to shower my favorite people with an extra dose of love but, that I also get to teach my preschoolers how important it is to love and recognize others around us.

Here are some ideas on how to make your Valentine’s Day extra special for you and your children:

  • Wake them up with a heart love fest.

Write affirmations in heart shaped sticky notes and leave them around their bedroom. Tell them how much you love them and what they mean to you and others in their life.

  1. Enjoy a yummy Valentine’s day breakfast.

Need I say more? Here are some great ideas to get inspired:

  1. The lunch box of love.

Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make a heart sandwich and watermelon hearts. Add a Valentine’s day themed napkin, a sweet love note and a red or pink treat like these amazing cookies from Alicia’s Delicias (our favorite!). They’ll be the ones giving you hugs and kisses when you pick them up after school. 

  1. Share the love.

Take some time in the afternoon to call close family members and tell them how much they mean to you. Little ones can also make fun Valentine’s Day crafts as gifts for the next time you see them. Some of my favorite ones are:

  1. Heart shaped pizza dinner.

Who doesn’t love pizza night? Just roll out a pizza crust, cut it into a heart shape, add tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, stick it in the oven and voila, an easy Valentine’s day dinner! You can add as little or as many toppings as you and your kids enjoy. 

  1. Get extra bedtime cuddles.

Have them pick their favorite Valentine’s Day book and have a “cuddle party” after you’re done reading. Maybe play some music too, my kids love the Canticos bilingual songs, Amor and the I Love my Mommy Song / Te quiero mamá which are perfect for preschoolers and easy to find on YouTube. There is nothing like some tickles, kisses and laughter to end your day on a high note!

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Ask an Educator: Valentine’s Day Edition

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Ask an Educator: Valentine’s Day Edition

With Sophia Espinoza

Sophia Espinoza is Canticos’ Director of Learning Design and Efficacy, and she made time for a quick sit-down ahead of Valentine’s Day to answer a few questions about making Valentine’s Day fun, full-of-love, and a good teaching moment, all in one! 

Q: This Valentine’s Day I’d love to focus on gratitude — instead of what we can’t do, or what’s different — are there any kid-appropriate activities I can do with my children to celebrate gratitude?

This is a wonderful idea, in no small part because cultivating gratitude has many benefits, no matter what is going on in the world around us. Grateful people often have stronger relationships, more empathy, and better self-esteem. And gratitude can even help improve mental health!

One kid-friendly way to celebrate gratitude this Valentine’s Day is to have your child/children pick a friend or family member they love, and then share 5 reasons why they are grateful for that person. You can write this down together, or make a card or video to share, but even just the act of stating their reasons out loud is a valuable practice for children.

Q: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to change the way we display affection, but with Valentine’s Day coming up, it seems like a good opportunity to teach my kids about different ways to express affection even after the pandemic is over. Any tips?

This is an excellent question! Physical affection between loved ones is a common way to express our love, and is especially central to many Latinx cultures. And science shows physical touch is important to human development. But not all children (and people!) are comfortable with physical touch.

For toddlers, resisting physical affection is often related to their developmental phase– it’s a way of demonstrating their independence and asserting control. But for other children, like some of those on the autism spectrum, it’s more than that: they may have sensory differences that make certain types of touch uncomfortable.

Now is a great time to teach kids about personal space bubbles, and seeking permission before touching others. Simply asking friends and loved ones what kind of affection they’re comfortable with goes a long way toward teaching children about bodily autonomy, consent, and respect for each other’s differences. 

And there are plenty of ways to show affection that don’t necessarily involve hugs or kisses, such as elbow and fist bumps, high-fives, or even a firm squeeze on the shoulder. Sometimes just sharing our feelings aloud in words might be the best way to let others know how much we care.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for fun activities or crafts I can do with my preschool and school-age children that encourage bilingual communication?

Absolutely! Making cards is a classic way for kids to express their affection and appreciation for the people around them each Valentine’s Day and this year doesn’t have to be any different. 

If you’re looking for a chance to get crafty with your kids, we have a fun idea. With a little help, kids can turn cardboard tubes into a sweet, heart-shaped stamp, which is excellent for decorating cards.Check out the printable instructions below!

And regardless of whether you make your own cards or use store-bought, you can help them write a note using both English and Spanish to send as many besitos and kisses to loved ones as possible!

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An Early Start to Bilingualism

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An Early Start to Bilingualism

By Sophia Espinoza

There is a common misconception among parents that simultaneously learning two or more languages can be confusing for a child, or that being multilingual negatively impacts language development or academic success. In fact, the opposite is true. For decades, research has shown that the benefits of language immersion programs include higher academic achievement, better literacy and language skills in both languages, and stronger cognitive skills. 

The benefits are clear, yet parents still have many questions about raising bilingual children, starting with “when is the best time to introduce a new language?” Some families simply wait until language classes are offered at their schools. Some private and public schools start second language instruction as early as Pre-K, while others wait until children are much older. When I was a student in suburban New York, my public school district didn’t start to offer Spanish until 6th grade. 

Luckily, I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and my parents did everything they could to support  my Spanish development at home while I learned English at school. My mom read to me in Spanish from when I was a baby, and then taught me to read Spanish around age 5.

Today, as an educator and expert in bilingual education, I treasure my parents’ gift of early bilingual language and biliteracy. I’ve learned that introducing a second language early sets children up to gain native-level proficiency in all of their languages, and takes advantage of the fact that children’s brains are primed for learning.

Recent research has brought more clarity to the question of whether or not there is an ideal or “critical period” for language acquisition. In 2018, researchers conducted a large-scale linguistic study of more than half a million English speakers and found that native grasp of grammatical fluency is attained by those who start a new language before age 10. Learning languages is possible any time in life, but those of us who have tried to learn as adults know that it can take more time and we can never quite get rid of the accent or grasp grammar as well as a native speaker.  

There is also fascinating research being done on infant neuroscience that shows how advantageous it is to start a second language right at birth. In a powerful 2017 TEDx Talk, Dr. Naja Ferjan Ramirez explains her latest research on creating bilingual minds. Early on in her talk, she unequivocally states that “the human brain is fully capable of achieving native fluency in two languages at the same time, and that we don’t necessarily have to struggle to get there.” In studying the brain processing of language of bilingual babies between 0-3 years of age, she’s found that before babies can even speak, their brains are becoming specialized to process the sounds of both languages they are exposed to at home. As they get older and neural connections are lost, so is the opportunity to hear and produce nuanced sounds of different languages. 

Another key advantage of starting early is related to how we learn second languages. Using repetition, conversation, and visual cues are well-known ways to develop a new language, and they are also common strategies for general early childhood education. Songs and nursery rhymes are used to introduce and reinforce vocabulary, pretend play lends itself to children speaking in their new language out loud, and the tangible nature of their learning and play materials (blocks, books, etc.) set them up for better language acquisition. The activities that are fun and developmentally appropriate for children 0-5 are also perfect tools for helping them acquire a new language.  

This is why we do what we do. Canticos is a bilingual learning platform. We don’t just teach English or Spanish, we teach in English and Spanish. We care deeply about setting up children for success on their bilingual education journey. Starting at birth, children’s brains are ready for multiple languages, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate language and culture with the whole family.  

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Parent Guide on Raising A Bilingual Baby

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Parent Guide on Raising A Bilingual Baby

By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

As a Latina mom, it’s very important to my husband and I that Sebastian, our 2-year-old, learns both English and Spanish. And while he’s just now learning to speak, we’re reassured he’s learning both languages when we hear him say Spanglish sentences like “Mamá, más balls!” (“mom, more balls!”) We’ll get him to sort out the two languages later … Here are a couple of the tools that are working for us that might also work for you.

Family and caregivers

My husband and I each speak in only one language to our son. I speak to him in Spanish, and my husband speaks to him in English. If there are family members or bilingual people you know who can speak to your child in a second language, coordinate opportunities to spend time together playing, talking, singing and reading.

If that’s not an option, consider finding a bilingual caregiver—whether a dedicated nanny, babysitter or a caregiver at a daycare center who can commit to speaking to your child in only a second language.

Nursery rhymes and songs

Between the catchy lyrics and infectious beat, music is a great way to introduce a second language. We love to sing bilingual songs to Sebastian and also expose him to them through educational cartoon videos on YouTube, like Canticos, and bilingual books. 

Sebastian loves to shake his hips to latin music while he tries to sing the lyrics. In fact, one of his favorite nursery rhymes is “Los Pollitos.” It’s one of the most popular Spanish children’s songs. We can’t help but watch in amusement and amazement as he learns not only the language but also the culture.

Kids learn best when they’re having fun, so find ways to make the experience enjoyable for your little ones and for you. ¡Éxito!

Guía para padres sobre la crianza de un bebé bilingüe

Por Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

Como madre latina, es muy importante para mi esposo y para mí que Sebastian, nuestro hijo de 2 años, aprenda inglés y español. Y aunque hasta ahora está aprendiendo a hablar, estamos seguros de que está aprendiendo ambos idiomas cuando lo escuchamos decir oraciones en spanglish como: “mamá, más balls!” (“mamá, más pelotas!”). ¿Aprender a separar los dos idiomas? Bueno, una cosa a la vez…. Mientras tanto, aquí hay un par de herramientas que nos están funcionando y que también podrían funcionarte a ti.

Familiares y cuidadores

Mi esposo y yo le hablamos a nuestro hijo en un solo idioma. Yo le hablo en español y mi esposo le habla en inglés. Si hay familiares o personas bilingües que conozcasque puedan hablar con tu hijo en un segundo idioma, encuentra oportunidades para que pasen tiempo juntos jugando, hablando, cantando y leyendo.

Si esa no es una opción, considera la posibilidad de encontrar un cuidador bilingüe, ya sea una niñera o un cuidador en una guardería que pueda comprometerse a hablar con tu hijo únicamente en un segundo idioma.

Rimas y canciones infantiles

Entre letras pegajosas y ritmos contagiosos, la música es una excelente manera de introducir un segundo idioma. Nos encanta cantarle canciones bilingües a Sebastian y también exponerlo a ellas a través de videos animados educativos en YouTube, como Canticos y libros bilingües.

A Sebastian le encanta mover las caderas al ritmo de la música latina mientras intenta cantar la letra. De hecho, una de sus canciones de cuna favoritas es “Los Pollitos”, una de las canciones infantiles más populares en español. No podemos evitar ver con diversión y asombro cómo aprende no solo el idioma, sino también la cultura.

Los niños aprenden mejor cuando se están divirtiendo, así que encuentra formas de hacer que la experiencia sea agradable para tus pequeños y para ti. ¡Éxito!

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Give Your Baby A Little Head Start At Bedtime

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Give Your Baby A Little Head Start At Bedtime!

By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

Like me, you may love bedtime with baby for the bathtime scents, the snuggles, the giggles and the stories. 

Bilingual songs and nursery rhymes in particular are wonderful for little ones, as there is a cadence in the rhyming that helps little ears become attuned to phonics and develop early literacy skills. 

Why not give toddlers a bilingual advantage by exposing them to nursery rhymes in two languages?

Won’t you both be proud when your toddler effortlessly rattles off a rhyme in English and in a second language, like Spanish?

So, what are some of the benefits of bilingualism

Countless studies support the idea that bilingualism is good for babies, linking it to:

  • Improved cognitive skills which influence how babies learn, remember, pay attention and problem solve.
  • Improved executive functioning which involves self-control and self-regulation.
  • Protecting the brain later in life which includes the offset of dementia.

And of course, if you’re raising bilingual babies, you’re raising global citizens – opening up their world to more people, cultures, and experiences to enrich their life. Now that feels good! 

How can you raise a bilingual baby if you don’t speak a second language?

Surprise! You don’t need to speak a second language to expose your little one to a language like Spanish. Spanish is a completely phonetic language. Each and every letter makes the same sound consistently throughout all vocabulary, making Spanish much easier to read than English!

  • Read:  One of the easiest ways is to pick up a bilingual book and read along one language at a time. Knowing the story in the dominant language helps them process the story in the second language much faster, facilitating their language acquisition. All Canticos books are designed to give kids foundational math, literacy and social emotional skills as they start their bilingual education. 
  • Sing: Lullabies and nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce a second language through music. Babies love repetition and hearing the words again and again makes it easier to remember. Canticos’ Emmy-nominated educational videos are all available to watch on YouTube and stream on Spotify, Amazon and Apple music too. Simply press play and they’ll build up that baby brain as they doze off to sleep. 
  • Don’t get discouraged: Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Even if your baby never develops full bilingual proficiency, simply exposing your little one to a second language for some period of time has huge benefits! 

¡Vamos! Let’s go! It’s never too early to start.  
Bedtime just got better.

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Best Villancicos- Spanish Christmas Carols

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Best Villancicos- Spanish Christmas Carols

By Nuria Santamaria Wolfe 

‘Tis the season for Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, but as you tune into your local or digital holiday station, you may also hear the Spanish holiday favorite “Feliz Navidad.” And there are many more ‘villancicos’ or Spanish Christmas carols where that Jose Feliciano song came from, which are the perfect way to advance your child’s bilingual education. Here’s our list of top villancicos for this holiday season. 

  1. Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano:  Of course! This super catchy and simple bilingual song is a classic.  Feliciano wishes you “Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año y Felicidad” which translates to “Merry Christmas, Prosperous New Year and Happiness”.  We love it “from the bottom, of our heaaaaarts.”

     

  2. Mi Burrito Sabanero: If you didn’t know it, “Tuki tuki tuki tuki, tuki tuki tuki ta” is the sound a donkey makes on his journey to Bethlehem….AND it’s also the catchy lyrics you’ll be singing after listening to this song.  This Venezuelan villancico is a true classic.  We’ve brought it to life through our favorite Spanish app for toddlers.  And check out the book here.

     

  3. Belen, Campanas de Belen: This is one of the most joyous Spanish Christmas songs and translates to “Bethlehem, Bells of Bethlehem.”  Your little angels can sing along to the chorus that evokes the bells of Bethlehem ringing to announce the birth of Jesus.

     

  4. Noche de paz: Although not originally in Spanish, we love the Spanish version of Silent Night.  Knowing the tune and lyrics in English will make it easier to sing along in a second language. 

We invite you to explore the wonderful world of villancicos. You can start with Spanish holiday song stations like Pandora’s Navidad Latina, or find holiday YouTube kids music ¡Feliz Navidad!

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Made with from our familia to yours