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Raising your kid bilingual – Everyone’s journey is unique

ENJOY THE RIDE, IT WILL BE UNIQUELY YOURS!
Bi-lingual education is a rocky road. When you were pregnant you probably thought you would speak German to your child, German only. And English to your better half. And then your beautiful child is born and everything is a bit off and not quite the way you thought it would be. You feel bad that part of your family does not understand what you are saying, so you pull away a bit. Or you give in and don’t speak German with your child as much as you thought you would.
And then soon she will start school and the American language and culture seeps into all aspects of your child‘s life. Or you decided to enroll your son in a German Immersion program and you are afraid that together with the Portuguese that he is learning from your mother he will be behind on the Gifted and Talented applications.
In short- you find yourself in a stressful situation as opposed the enriching learning environment you wanted to create for your child…..
All the above scenarios are from families that we know at Rella’s Spielhaus. Bi-lingual education is indeed messy. The rocky road you have embarked on not all that clearly marked. But I am grateful to tell you after over 7 years founding a German Immersion school that it is all part of the precious thing we are trying to do called bi-lingual education.
Maybe you can only send your child to a couple of weeks of German Summer Camp/year. Or you have committed to one Day of German Communication with your kids… it will all be precious material to be used and integrated later into your child‘s web of experiences.
What matters the most in our opinion is the joy of learning you share. Try to avoid to add German as another must on your child’s schedule. Create memorable experiences. Easily said, not so easily done. But UNIQUELY YOURS.
Guest blog by Barbara Rellstab
Founder/Director of Rella’s Spielhaus, Manhattan‘s First German Language Preschool and largest offerer of German classes for kids in New York. MA candidate fir bi-lingual/bi-cultural childhood education at Columbia University‘s Teachers College.

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