Learning Languages Preschool

3 different languages preschool

Today I want to share with you how my sons got familiar with 3 different languages already at a very young age.

Now, those who have been following me for a while surely know that I am by no means a „tiger mom“. My children wanting to learn something is always the first requirement before I set up a new learning environment or an activity for them.

That said I want to let you know the reason, why I helped them learn the basic skills in 3 different languages in their toddler / preschool years. We are a German family, but my sons also have Balkan ancestors. So for me it was always important that they learn those two languages. German is my mother tongue and it would feel very strange to me not to talk to them in this language. However we live in an English speaking environment, so a lot of their books and the music they listen to are English as well. They love all those languages around them and learning really comes easy for my boys. However, it is obvious that for learning the letters and words properly, they need my help.

Getting used to the sounds

As I am familiar with all 3 languages, it was easy for me to read to my children in English, German and Bulgarian. However, they originally only wanted me to read all of their books only in German language. So we compromised and I still read to them in English and Bulgarian, but I translate every sentence. For me that is always a very good practice and I believe it helps them with in getting a basic understanding.
One thing that my boys really love, is action. I need to include a lot of movement in our daily rhythm and because we all love music, we often listen to funny songs, while they move around with their scooters, play soccer or do parkour. Then I use playlists that include international music. It works perfectly well with English songs. They have developped a really good pronunciation and learn new vocabulary without problems. Furthermore I noticed that they are not shy at all, when it comes to speaking English, although it is not their mother tongue.
Learning Bulgarian still is not as easy for them, but with songs they like, it gets better every day. Now we also have some Bulgarian people coming by that speak little English. This way my children are getting used to listening to the sounds of this Slavic language. So my kids want to learn the language in order to talk to our friends and that helps a lot. 

Getting used to the alphabets

I always thought that it is a beautiful idea to have an alphabet print with cute drawings hanging on a wall. Well, every time I came up with an alphabet print – that I myself found very beautiful – my boys weren’t interested at all. They simply didn’t want to sit down and just stare at single letters. I understood that very quickly. 
So I bought them some beautiful wooden letter puzzles and they enjoyed playing with them very much. I guess they simply are the hands-on-kind of children. 
However, those puzzle games didn’t include cyrillic letters. The magnetic cyrillic letters I bought for their board, were just some signs for them and they did not learn a single cyrillic letter that way. So I was always looking for a way to let them explore the cyrillic alphabet.
Finally, one day, when I was paying close attention to the interests of my boys, I had the idea that worked best for us up to now.
My wild boys need breaks just like every other child. And then they always start to paint. So I had the ultimate idea: in order to learn the letters properly, they needed to paint them. And just like that the idea for my next printable was born. And what should I say: this is by far the most used printable in our family up to now. They both love painting the latin and cyrillic letters and the corresponding pictures. They practice spelling while having fun with their colors and without even noticing they are learning their letters and words.

Printables for you

So let’s have a close look at my designs:
I have designed 2 different copies of each alphabet that we are currently learning: English, German and Bulgarian. The first simple copy is always one coloring page for each letter – including one corresponding picture. The second copy took me a lot of work and is therefore only available in my shop. It includes the corresponding lower case letter on each page as well as the corresponding word written completely on each page. So that really is a huge benefit of the copy that you can buy in my shop.
  • English alphabet

for free: the copy with a big capital letter and a picture on each page. You will get the free printables by scrolling down a bit – at the end of this blog post.

available in the bilingual bundle: this copy includes the corresponding lower case letter on each page. I have also included the corresponding written word on each page.

  • German alphabet

available in the bilingual bundle: obviously Germans use the same letters, however the words differ slightly. I tried to use the same words for both languages as often as possible, because I love how easy it makes it for children to expand their vocabulary. Some words are different. You will notice that when you buy the complete bundle in my shop.

  • Bulgarian alphabet

I chose this cyrillic alphabet, because it is the language I want my children to learn. Other cyrillic alphabets are very similar. So if you want to give your kids just a clue of what cyrillic looks like in general – without any specific language in mind – you can use this printable as well. 

for free: you will get the Cyrillic alphabet for free – in capital letters. 

in my shop: if you want to include the lower case letters as well as the corresponding word written in cyrillic, then this offer is perfect for you and your children.

My next blog post will be about letting children explore letters as well as numbers in different ways and how that worked for my little wild boys.
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Irene 2

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