Apr 19

Does Learning Spanish or Mandarin Make Kids Forget English?

It’s natural to worry that learning a second language will make your children forget English. Although adults seem to forget one thing as soon as they learn another, kids’ brains work differently – especially in language.

Learning Spanish or Mandarin Will Not Interfere with Remembering and Using English

Because a child’s first language is such a significant part of his or her life, your child will naturally learn the fundamentals of English grammar without being taught. Once they reach school age, of course, they’ll be formally taught grammar rules. According to psychologists, this unconscious learning process is stored very early on in the brain and acts as a skill one can never forget, like riding a bike. In fact, language scientists have found that learning another language actually improves a child’s ability to speak and write grammatically correct English.

Moreover, numerous studies involving children learning other languages found that by encouraging children to contrast and compare the rules of another language, their ability to differentiate between the two languages is dramatically improved. This minimizes or even eliminates the potential for the second language to interfere with using the English language.

The "Bilingual" Brain

Did you know that the brain is like a muscle? Like any other muscle, the brain needs continuous exercise to keep it functioning as its optimal rate. One of the best ways to exercise the brain is by learning how to speak, read and write in another language. By utilizing neurons that are vital for relaying messages throughout the brain, this maintains the high-order operations that the brain performs, such as organizing, memorizing details, and expressing ideas.

Children exposed to two languages from an early age often develop what neuroscientists call a "bilingual brain" that is capable of processing languages through the brain's left hemisphere. However, children who are older than 12 often experience more difficulty learning another language because researchers discovered that older "bilinguals" experience the language learning through the right hemisphere of the brain, which seems to delay the ability to "pick up" another language. (This could also explain why adults have a harder time with a new language.)

Further, when children have the ability to express themselves in a second language, it heightens their ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas in their native language.

Why It’s So Important to Learn Another Language

Living in a world that’s as culturally and linguistically diverse as ours, knowing a second language like Spanish or Mandarin is becoming increasingly necessary for children. The good news is, that knowledge won’t affect their English.

Mar 16

4 Ways to Spot and Nurture Talent In Your Child

Author: Dana Matthews

I really liked the article "4 Ways to Spot and Nurture Talent In Your Child."  As a parent, you may not realize your child’s talent but the good news is it takes a village to raise a child.  While my daughter was in kindergarten, the class had an art show. During the show a good friend mentioned how my daughter had a good eye for color combinations and was really impressed by her project. The next day my friend gave my daughter a professional art set. The set was in a beautiful wood carrying case and contained water color paints, oil paints, colored pencils, art chalk and everything else! My daughter loved this art set and looked forward to drawing, painting and coloring with her new set. We started getting books about artists and going to art shows. Six years later she still loves to paint and still has her first art carrying case. I am definitely not an artist, so it was great that my friend identified her talent. Who knows where this can lead?

By the way, the painting above is not my daughter’s painting!

Read the full article on the Child Development Institute site

Feb 14

Chinese Lantern Festival

Every year, on February 11th, the Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the New Year period with a beautiful celebration of lights. Symbolically, it is the first full moon of the Chinese calendar, which symbolizes two things: the reunion of family and the beginning of Spring.

This 2,000 year old tradition is a unifying force among those who participate, though traditions differ regionally. The most popular form of celebrating, however, is lighting and releasing lanterns with friends and family. It has become increasingly popular in the United States, which hosts Lantern festivals nationwide to celebrate.

[Photos © beijingholiday.com & historicphiladelphia.com]

How can I celebrate?

The Chinese Lantern Festival is a beautiful celebration of lights and more traditional elements, like flowers and dragons lining the streets with music and lion dances. But, aside from this, there are other fun activities that are constant in the festivals that you can do from home!

Guessing Lantern Riddles

In modern times people prepare the riddles and see if the children can solve it; if they know the answer the child writes the answer on the lantern. If you get the answer right, you win a prize! Also, children can write their own wish on a lantern and then release the lantern so it floats to the sky with their wish!

Here is a link for you to create your own paper lanterns, so try writing out riddles and seeing if your child can guess the answer!

Preparing Tangyuan

Lastly, preparing tangyuan is a classic element of the Chinese Lantern Festival. These are round, solid dumplings usually served in a sweet soup and are widely prepared throughout the festival. The round shape symbolizes unity and togetherness, both in family and in prosperity of the new year. To learn how to make your own tangyuan, see this recipe!

Releasing Lanterns

Of course, the most trademark tradition of the festival is releasing the lanterns into the sky in a show of optimism for the new year. No lantern is the same -- they come in shapes like dragons, or fish, or other animals, along with the traditional globes. Children often illuminate the streets and sidewalks with smaller, hand-held lanterns.

This year, there are large celebrations in New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Columbus, OH, and Fairfax, VA -- but even if you can’t make it, we highly recommend making your own paper lanterns and preparing tangyuan for your family.

Happy New Year!

Feb 14

Making Paper Lanterns

Follow our step-by-step instructions to make colorful paper lanterns for your home this holiday season! Not only are they fun and easy to make, you can use them to celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Step 1: Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half lengthwise.

We recommend colorful construction paper, because of its durability and color possibilities.

Step 2: Cut 1 to 2 inch-long slits about one inch apart along the folded paper.

This will act as the filter the light will shine through. The longer the slits, the more floppy the lantern will be.

Step 3: Fold the two ends together so that it forms a tube, and staple together

We recommend that the parents complete this step, especially if your children are on the younger side. Staple the top and bottom of the tube, so that the lantern shape takes form.

Step 4: Make a handle

Take a thin strip of the same (or new!) construction paper, stapling it to the sides of the top of the lantern. Try out different paper to add colorful dimensions to your lantern.

Step 5: Add light!

Use a long electric candle inside your paper lantern by fitting it through the bottom. Make sure to turn it off after extended periods of time.

There you have it! We hope you enjoy this easy, fun way of making paper lanterns. If you have pictures you would like to show us, don’t hesitate to post them to our Facebook page.

Feb 09

Making "Melted Snowman" Slime

During the month of January we celebrated winter by making "melted snowman" slime at our Open Houses! The children LOVED this activity! We want to share the fun with you, so here's the recipe for making your own melted snowman slime.

Materials Needed

  • 3 ounces of Elmer’s Glue
  • 1 ounce of Sta-Flo liquid starch
  • Small bowl
  • 4-ounce Glass Container
  • Glitter and/or Art Sand
  • Jar label & Paint Pens

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pour the 3 ounces of Elmer’s glue into the small bowl
  2. Pour ½ of the Sta-Flo liquid starch into the bowl
  3. Use your hands and mix the glue and the starch together until the mixture is sticky (about 3-5 minutes)
  4. Put the mixture into the bowl and pour in the remaining starch
  5. Mix until the mixture feels firm and stretchy (like silly putty)
  6. Put back into bowl and sprinkle glitter and/or art sand onto the mixture
  7. Mix the glitter/sand throughout and viola; sparkly "melted" snow!
  8. After playing with the melted snow; place it in the container
  9. Put the label on and decorate with art pens

Have Fun!

Feb 07

Celebrating Mozart

Author: Dana Matthews

We had so much fun celebrating Mozart’s birthday in fantastic style! One of our Jump! parents is an accomplished pianist and amazing piano teacher! To celebrate Mozart’s 261st birthday she came to the school to showcase Mozart’s talent. The students were mesmerized with her playing ability and were astonished to find out that Mozart created his first composition at age five!

It was so cute to see all the students get excited about classical music! Our Kindergartners and First Graders were inspired and now want to compose their own music. Who knows, this event might encourage our next great pianist, violinist and/or composer!

Watch this video for a child friendly version of Mozart’s life, courtesy of Free School; this may inspire your child to compose or play classical piano and/or violin!

Mozart for Children: Biography for kids - FreeSchool

Feb 01

Día de la Candelaria or "Candlemas"

On February 2nd, Mexico will celebrate la Día de la Candelaria, sometimes known as “Candlemas.” This religious and family holiday is a month-long celebration, filled with parades, religious blessings, and of course, feasting on traditional tamales throughout.

[Photos © Manzanillo.com, garuyo.com]

In fact, the celebrations begin exactly on January 6th, Three Kings Day. Throughout Latin America, it is customary to prepare and eat Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread with a small figurine of a baby (to represent Christ) hidden inside. Whoever finds the figurine hosts the Candlemas feast -- and makes all the tamales, a traditional Mesoamerican dish, for their family!

But, Día de la Candelaria isn’t only about food -- it’s a religious celebration to commemorate the rise of Jesus Christ, since January 2nd represents the day Jesus was presented in Church, exactly 40 days after he was born. At that time, Mary presented Jesus with an abundance of candles (“candelas”) to God.

During this period, it is customary to dress a figurine of Baby Jesus and present him to the Church, just as Mary and Joseph had. Traditionally, the Baby Jesus is dress in white to represent purity and divinity. Baby Jesus, along with candles, are brought to the Church to pay homage to the recognition of Jesus Christ -- followed by the “tamalada” feast. This includes tamales and the sweet traditional drinks, atole de pinole and champurrado (thick hot chocolate).

So, if you and your family want to celebrate Día de la Candelaria this February (religiously or not), try hosting your own tamalade! Here, you can find recipes for traditional tamales, atole de pinole, and champurrado.

[Photos © saltaandwind.com]

Make sure to send pictures to our Facebook page -- we can’t wait to see what you try!

Feliz Día de la Candelaria!

Jan 18

How Can Young Children Best Learn Languages?

Author: Dana Matthews

The article: How can young children best learn languages? By Tracey Chapelton was very interesting! I found this article insightful! It identifies why and how children can learn another language or three with ease. This statement explains why our children at Jump! Immersion School effortlessly learn another language:

“Communication is something that children do to help them achieve something else, and they are blissfully unaware of the enormous amount of learning taking place. They take everything in through their senses, making connections between what they hear, see, smell, taste and touch.”

Unfortunately, this also explains why it might take me five years to be able to speak another language fluently!

Read the full article on the British Council site:
How Can Young Children Best Learn Languages?»

[Photo © British Council]

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