Kids find fun and games in dual lan­guage learn­ing

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By TRI­CIA CAM­BRON As­sis­tant Edi­tor

“Do you know what this is?” Bethany Ne­varez asked the 4-year-old child look­ing up at her.

“Man­zana.” In English? “Ap­ple.”

What color is it? “Green.” And in espanol? “Verde.”

Then, with her proud mother look­ing on, it’s smiles all around and Ester, who is in pre-K, pushes the plas­tic ap­ple into the mouth of the car­toon char­ac­ter and col­lects her free book and pic­ture stick­ers.

Bethany and Ester were at Peek’s Park Satur­day morn­ing par­tic­i­pat­ing in Cedar­town’s first Latino Lit­er­acy Day. The event is the brain­child of Ne­varez, whose of­fi­cial job is co­or­di­na­tor of the Polk County School Dis­trict’s McKin­ney Venco pro­gram for home­less chil­dren in the schools, but Ne­varez, who is also in­ter­ested in dual lit­er­acy, planned the lit­er­acy day as a per­sonal project, at least for the first time around.

“Chil­dren who know two lan­guages have higher IQs,” she says, and they just gen­er­ally do bet­ter in school both emo­tion­ally and men­tally. Ne­varez said she also wanted to do some­thing to get par­ents in­ter­ested in help­ing their chil­dren learn English by demon­strat­ing sim­ple ways to prac­tice both lan­guages.

“I wanted par­ents to un­der­stand they don’t have to wait for the

child to go to school, they can use things around the house to teach their chil­dren.”

Scat­tered around the lawn on the north­ern end of the park were ta­bles and bal­loons and piles of dual lan­guage books be­ing given away as prizes for par­tic­i­pat­ing in sim­ple games, like toss the ball into the cor­rect bas­ket and then say or spell the name of the ob­ject in English and in Span­ish.

Ne­varez asked Rhonda Hurer, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Polk County Fam­ily Con­nec­tions to part­ner with her on putting the event to­gether. Hurer brought in rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Grace Pres­by­te­rian Church, The Ferst Foun­da­tion, Our House, Ge­or­gia High­lands Col­lege, Pri­mary Health Care, and an­other health care provider, Ameri­group, all of whom were set up in the park’s pav­il­ion to talk to par­ents about lan­guage re­sources.

Hurer said Bethany was the brain be­hind the event, but it was def­i­nitely some­thing Fam­ily Con­nec­tions wanted to par­tic­i­pate in, as one of Fam­ily Con­nec­tions’ ac­tiv­i­ties is a part­ner­ship with the state pro­gram, “Get Ge­or­gia Read­ing.”

One of the goals of “Get Ge­or­gia Read­ing,” Hurer said, is to en­cour­age par­ents to teach their chil­dren at home. “The Latino pop­u­la­tion cul­tur­ally ad­mires teach­ers,” Hurer said, “but we want them to con­sider them­selves teach­ers. As par­ents, they are their child’s first teach­ers.”

Tricia Cambron/SJ

Bethany Ne­varez plays a nam­ing game with 4-year-old Ester at Latino Lit­er­acy Day Satur­day in Peek’s Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.