Raising Bilingual Children: Community-Based Language Maintenance

by multilingualmania on March 14, 2010

in Bilingualism

Last week I attended the CABE (California Association for Bilingual Education) conference in San José, and I was fortunate enough to attend many interesting and inspiring workshops! I plan on blogging more about the conference over the next few days, but today I wanted to talk about an inspiring parent workshop that I attended yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning I attended a workshop about strategies for raising bilingual and bi-cultural children, which was presented by two amazing women who are raising bilingual and multilingual children. Regina Camargo and Eliana Elias, early childhood educators in Northern California, discussed many of the activities that they do within their community-based “Portuguese Club”.

Parents and children convene frequently at Regina or Eliana’s house, or other houses and locations in order to participate in a variety of family oriented activities that are designed to raise the status of Portuguese as well as to create a positive and affirming environment that encourages use of the Portuguese language. The community-based Portugues club provides an environment for parents to model usage of Portuguese, eliciting children to practice and learn the language in an authentic context.

One of the activities that they discussed was that they all get together and made books in the target language. They brought a few sample of books that were made out of cloth and decorated:

Even some of the older students made books covered by cloth. This book even has “chapters”:

In addition to making books, they also have organized many other activities such as gardening, writing about pets (they even had all the children bring all their pets to someone’s house!), invite guest speakers from the local university or community, go on camping trips and much, much more! The main idea that they emphasized was that they make language learning as fun and as authentic as possible!

At the end of the session, Regina Camargo read aloud a beautiful poem that she had written about being bilingual. It was so powerful! After speaking with her, she informed me that her husband is a musician and they are recording music for many of her poems!

Trust me, you have not heard the end of these two talented women because I plan to hunt them down and interview them, if possible!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eliana Elias March 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I am so pleased that you enjoyed our workshop! Your blog is amazing! I will use it as a resource for other parents and for some of my students. Thanks!

Regina Camargo March 15, 2010 at 12:43 am

Melanie, I am glad you enjoyed our workshop. Thank you very much for writing such a nice post about it. I love the idea of your blog. I look forward to read more posts and to collaborate with you in the future.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: