How did we do?
I can’t believe how quickly this school year has flown by. When I was a kid the school year felt endless but so did the summers. As we are about I embark on our first summer vacation it’s seems appropriate to reflect on our bilingual daughter’s first year in the Vancouver school system.
Looking back to my blog about starting kindergarten I realize that we had very big ambitions! We had hoped to work on Spanish and French after school. We quickly realized that there is no time after school! Our daughter is so social and active that her evenings are full of activities and playdates, leaving little room for extra school work. She also seemed overwhelmed by the amount of mental and physical activity that school requires and it didn’t seem fair to push her more.
However we have made an effort to speak Spanish at home and we spent March break in Oaxaca with family so she was immersed in Spanish. We also continue to read in Spanish and French whenever possible.
What can we expect for next year?
As a preschooler one of the areas in which she struggled was letter recognition and the alphabet. This is still her weakest point according to her report card but she has improved drastically in English since starting school. Her difficulty with the alphabet makes sense because as a bilingual child it will take her longer to grasp the alphabet in both languages. This is complicated by the fact that a in English and e in Spanish have the same sound as do e in English and i in Spanish. Next year in Grade 1 we can expect a lot more reading and writing. Hopefully we will find the time to teach her Spanish reading and writing but I think that French may have to wait a few years.
To other parents of bilingual or multilingual children: what approach have you taken to ensure fluency in both/all of your children’s languages?