What is the meaning of Spring?

Spring's arrival

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” ~ Doug Larson

For most, Spring means rebirth and hope. Everyday I watch Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo’s report about the state of New York City and our tristate region. In this time of Covid-19, there are many bleak, dark days. As Cuomo said this morning, when times are troubled we see the good, the bad, and the ugly come out in people. People’s true essence comes out when situations become difficult. People react to stressful times in a variety of ways. Some people will disappoint you and hurt you. Some people will surprise you with their ability to be so generous in their outpouring of love and hope.

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions and the roots up and make new trees.” ~ Amelia Carhart

When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes. At Twin Parks Montessori School, we understand that families are isolated and parents are not only working from home but they are overseeing the education of their children. We are here to help. We are offering families video conferencing, lessons, stories, songs, enrichment and other ways to keep the community of classrooms together. From a social-emotional view, children need to know that their friends and their teachers are safe and ok. Being primarily visual learners, it is important that they “see” their class community. Even if they react to seeing their classroom in small squares on the computer by running away or becoming over excited. This is part of the new normal for children.

TPMS teachers quickly learned how to present materials and circle time in a format that many had never used before. The teacher’s and administrator’s willingness to provide unique learning experiences for the children on their campus made me very proud to be a part of TPMS teams. Teachers are to be commended for their love for their classroom children and the importance, thought, and time they spent to learn from mistakes and make the next face-time experience better than the one before.

 TPMS teachers are offering hope and possibility for children.

Spring's arrival
Signs of Spring in Central Park



Raising Bilingual Children Part II

Multilingual Family

What is the parents’ role in raising bilingual children? The parents set the goals for the children and must remain as the organizers of the plan to make sure the goals are met. The question parenting partners have to agree on are the extend of the bilingual strengths. Do we want our child to be academically literate and be able to work and live in two or more languages? That will require 80% exposure to the second language.

Parents have to have a plan with goals

  1. Academic literacy goals live and work in the languages requires 80% exposure and use
  2. Basic literacy read and write but not academic requires at least 50% exposure and use
  3. Communicate with family and friends and play in the second language requires 30% of exposure and use
  4. Minimum of 20% is required to talk to grandparents in their native language
  5. Start the plan with the oldest, language learning between siblings is very helpful
  • Keep in Mind that:
  • Young children’s exposure to a second language benefit and can sound like a native speaker (without an accent)
  • Goals can change, they are not written in stone
  • If you move when when children are young it is ok
  • Be consistent for at least the first 4 years of your child’s life
  • Talk about why it is important to your family
  • Who speaks what and why?
  • Be confident and advocate for your child.
  • Make it fun so they continue with language development when they leave you


  • When will you use the home language? At meal time?
  • If one parent is not as strong, as long as they try, it is beneficial
  • By Topic? School work or family time?
  • By Place? Kitchen – Italian only, or Technology zone Dad’s language only

Language Priorities for learning

  • language of family
  • language of the school
  • language of the community
  • other languages

What is the parents’ job?

  1. Learn about raising a bilingual child
  2. Set goals
  3. Plan for goals
  4. Talk to your children about the goals
  5. Talk to key people
  6. Know how to get help: Tutors or nanny, child care, family members, extra curricular activities www.multilingualfamily.org
  7. Go on vacation in a place that speaks the language that you are learning

Raising Bilingual Children Part I

Raising Bilingual Children

Twin Parks Montessori Schools has many bilingual and trilingual families. As part of our Coffee Chat series, Dr. Anne Colantuoni and I did a presentation on Raising Bilingual Children. We both had an interest and enjoyed researching the topic. This blog post will be one of two in a series to give more information. First I wanted to present some facts gathered from research.

  • Bilingualism is a process, not a product. To be totally bilingual takes 9 years
  • Each child is different in their ability to learn multiple languages, some take longer
  • Home language is spoken in the home since birth (and before)
  • You have to be a talker to teach a language
  • The child’s dominate language is the one they play in and self-talk in
  • Bilingualism happens naturally when the community is bilingual
  • 1st language before the age of 1, not necessarily spoken in the home
  • Must have a personal connection – TV and iPad programs are not as successful as person to person
  • The third or additional languages should be introduced between 4 and 7 years of age
  • they will not develop either well
  • Make sure they are strong in 2 languages before adding a third
  • The dominate language can change over time depending on circumstances
  • Children are not sponges. After 1 year of not hearing a second language, they become language learners just like the rest of us
  • Under 6 years of age, children do not complain about a second language
  • Around 6 years of age, children may complain about the extra work
  • Children migrate to the language of their school setting
  • Learning another language is very positive for cognitive, linguistics, educational and social development
  • Bilingual and trilingual children demonstrate more empathy in social situations
  • Multilingual children can find meaning in other languages and other cultures
  • Reading books that are print-rich in a second language, while asking questions and making predictions increases children’s capacity to learn
  • The quality of their home language will help develop a second language in school
  • Never stop using home language at home – if you drop home language at home when they go to school
  • If there is a different alphabet system like Russian or Chinese it takes longer to read and write
  • Teachers need to know about the languages spoken at home
Raising Bilingual Children
Highly recommended book on Raising Bilingual Children