Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mama Dice Comprobarlo

WonderBaby speaks Spanish. Not quite as much as she speaks English - and her English is pretty limited, seeing as she is 17 months old - but still, it's there. Water is agua, cows are vacas, sometimes bye-bye is replaced with ciao (not Spanish, I know, but idiomatically latin) and yes with si. Once, when I asked her where her Pablo (don't ask) was, she said alli esta (over there).

She speaks some Spanish because her caregiver speaks Spanish, exclusively, with her. I wanted her to learn Spanish because I speak it, and because her godfamily is Spanish, and because I fully intend for her to spend time in Spain, it being a place very much of my history and very dear to my heart. So, we've been taking every opportunity to expose her to the language.

Boca Beth was just such an opporunity - a Spanish-language learning program for children, something to pop in the DVD/CD player to augment what she's learning from her caregiver and (much more casually) from me - so I jumped at the opportunity. Our Boca Beth package included the musical CD My First Songs In Spanish, the DVD I Like Animals, a Boca Beth Coloring and Activity Book, a Boca puppet and a maraca, and WonderBaby appropriated all items immediately. Puppet was flung about, maraca was shaken and CDs and DVDs were thrust at me aggressively: ya ya ya ya ya! (WonderBaby also knows some German.)

The DVD was great - simple and engaging and just the right amount of crack-like rhythm to keep WonderBaby bouncing and hooting. (And, as I've said before, anything that distracts her from Teletubbies is GOLD - oro - in my books.) Add some maraca, and you've got a dance party with video back-up. Afterwards, chill-out to some mellow moments with the puppet and the colouring book and there's one afternoon well spent. Siesta, anyone?

My only reservations were with the musical CD. For one, I personally didn't like the music (that said, I also don't like WonderPets and I loathe Barney but I won't turn them off if WonderBaby grooves to them. And she did groove to the Boca Beth CD.) For two, I found that the repetitive transition between English and Spanish in the songs made it a bit difficult to really get into the rhythm in sing-along. As a Spanish-speaker myself, I found bouncing between languages awkward - I would have rather heard and sung-along with one whole song in Spanish, and then heard and sung-along with the entire English version, than heard one line in English, then in Spanish, then another in English, and so on and so on and so on. And I'm not convinced that this is actually effective for language development - from what I understand about second-language learning, the more immersion and the less 'back-and-forth' between languages, the better (this is why Dora isn't effective as a language learning tool - children might learn some select vocabulary, but not 'whole language.') So we'll probably stick to The Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack and the old Spanish pop songs from my iTunes library for the music part of our program.

But, still, WonderBaby liked it, and so I'll certainly pop it in the player when she asks for it. And, as I've already said, the DVD was very good, as were the colouring book and toys. We'll totally keep using them to augment our own Spanish program.

Y por eso, todo es bueno. Gracias, Boca Beth.

All of these products can be found on the BOCA BETH official website and the CD and DVD can also be found on Amazon.com. More reviews can be found through the Parent Bloggers Network.

1 comment:

Bloor West Mama said...

I am so looking into this...I too want my Isa to learn her parent's native tongue and frankly I can use all the help I can get.

You have got to tell me how you went about finding a Spanish speaking caregiver for WB.