Help Young Children Learn Languages
Discover How Hundreds of Thousands of Busy Parents Like You Are Quitting Fluency-Killing Flashcards and Immersing Themselves and Their Children into REAL, Everyday Speech in a New Language – And Why This Is One of the Smartest Things You Can Do for Your Child (and for You!)
Who Knows? After Trying My Method at Home, You May Be Inspired and Decide to Use It to Teach Your Own Parent-Child Groups! — If You Do So, There Are Tons of Resources to Help You Get Started Right Here (So Keep Reading!)
Dear Parent or Prospective Parent-Entrepreneur,
I have been in your shoes and traveled your path.
As a mother…
My husband and I felt strongly that our children should be raised bilingually.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a bilingual school close by and we knew that the district’s world languages program, as excellent as it is (it just won the 2011 Melba D. Woodruff Award), would not be enough to lead our kids to the level of proficiency required to speak fluently with native speakers.
Our second language (Spanish) would have to be supplemented at home. I would have to figure out how to help my children become fluent in Spanish.
(By the way, even bilingual parents don’t necessarily know what to do in order to raise their kids bilingually).
As a mom-entrepreneur…
My desperation to do something outside my daily chores as a stay-at-home mom is what led to my second role as mom-entrepreneur. Yes, I am one of those people who needs a mental break every now and then!
More importantly, I wanted to bring home some extra income and have my personal space to be creative and have fun as well – I felt that without some degree of independence, I would soon become a very cranky person!
So I started posting fliers on lampposts and local businesses offering my services to teach Spanish to groups of parents and young children (those are my humble beginnings!).
Of course, I had no idea how I would do that, but I was determined to try and learn.
From there, I expanded my services and brought my program to schools, homeschooling groups, private parent-child groups, Saturday groups, after school programs, and all sorts of interesting offerings which involved hiring other teachers and forming a company.
Today, I am a bestselling author of informational guides, lesson plans, audio books and applications to teach languages to young children in school and at home, but I started from zero.
Granted that I was a native from Madrid and a graduate student at Princeton University in the Department of Romance Languages…
But while this may seem like a huge advantage (and it is), I can assure you that at that point I was far from seeing it that way. In fact, I thought it was a BIG, HEAVY DRAG. Why?
An advantage is not an advantage until you understand that you have it and actually know what to do with it.
At that point, I was a mom of two young children (ages 3 and 1) who couldn’t see the light after my degree. What could one do with a Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American literature?
So I was wondering and actually losing sleep over the question of what in the world I would do after my Ivy League days with a language degree (the future is for Engineers, not for people with language degrees – that was my thinking).
I was so restless that I decided to put my Ph.D. on hold and start exploring before more time lapsed. My friends and family thought I was NUTS! And they didn’t restrain from telling me (I don’t blame them – Princeton is Princeton – but I took the right decision and I never looked back).
So first I taught middle school at a local Princeton private school, but I didn’t love it. And that’s when I started hanging fliers around…
I started my humble parent-child class project with one small group that I could gather in the back of a friends’ children bookstore (the year was 1999). It was more of a volunteer effort and I charged only for materials. My goal was just to discover if this was for me – and, more importantly, if I had what it took to do this.
It took me years of trial and error to learn, apply, and design my own system to teach toddlers to 8 year old kids.
As I said before, today I publish resources so that others can teach languages to their children or students. Together, my books have generated over $1mm of retail sales with almost no advertising – just by being available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc, and of course on my website.
Luckily for me, sales have increased mostly via simple, old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Frankly, I’m not exactly a marketing or business wiz, so I am grateful for that. And those numbers are for someone who thought that she didn’t have a professional future…
It also comes to show that there are many parents out there interested in learning languages with their children.
But enough about me, let’s talk about you now.
What Are Your Language Learning/Teaching Advantages?
Chances are that you think that you don’t have any particular advantages as far as language learning/teaching goes.
In fact, you may not even speak a second language and, therefore, it may never have crossed your mind that you can teach your child a new language in a fluency-driven way (and learn yourself in the process, of course).
Perhaps you find yourself stuck with flashcards of colors, animals, and numbers – because you think that you can’t possibly do anything more advanced than this at your beginning level.
[Of course, you may also find yourself stuck with flashcards due to the great advertising money that many companies have spent to convince you that your child will learn to speak with what at the end of the day is yet another colorful and animated set of flashcards focused on naming objects.
Do you truly think that your child will learn to speak a foreign language by learning a bunch of isolated words or phrases at a time with no context or purpose in mind?
I have to warn you that there are LOTS of fantastic tales out there in the early language industry… I love talking about them in my blog.]
But let’s go back to the topic of you and your advantages.
These language-learning advantages are not the same for parents and parent-entrepreneurs.
As a parent, you have these advantages:
- You already speak at least one language. All you have to do is learn to say the same thing in another language (in a culturally appropriate way).
- You can read and probably write in at least one language or you would not be reading this text. These two skills will come quite handy in the second language, even if your children are very young (by the way, even illiterate parents can help their children learn if they are shown what to do, but I am digressing again).
- You know your children better than anyone, and you spend quite a lot of time with them (or at least enough quality time with them).
All you need then is a little know-how and the right resources to get you going in the second language.
As a parent-entrepreneur, you have these advantages:
- You have a child to try things with (or you wouldn’t be a parent!).
- If you are bilingual or have advanced skills in the language already, you can form your own groups and start teaching right away, just as I did when I opened my parent-child groups.
- If you are not bilingual or have advanced skills in a language, you can hire others to do the teaching (please note that I would not recommend that you teach as a foreign language professional if you don’t have a high level in the language). If you hire others, you can start as small or as big as you want.
- Whether you are bilingual or not, the key will be in getting a deep knowledge of how children learn languages and how to get started, including how to create or find ready-made curriculum (that is, lesson plans), how to train the teachers (or oneself), etc.
Let’s explore now 3 things you should be aware of.
3 Things You Should Know About Early Language Learning that You Probably Have Never Heard Before
1) Babies and toddlers cannot learn languages from CDs, DVDs or TV programs.
Young children are the best language learners. Their brain is especially apt to pick up sounds and all sorts of nuances of languages. HOWEVER, babies and toddlers cannot learn languages from CDs, DVDs or TV programs.
Also, while preschoolers and early elementary children can pick up some language that way, it PALES in comparison to what they can learn with one-on-one human interaction.
You are wasting your children’s phenomenal linguistic potential big time if all that you do is supply CDs and DVDs for them to use alone.
Imagine the enormous amount of time and money that people would save if only they were aware of this first point…
2) Young children learn languages better in one-on-one interaction with adults. It is difficult for them to learn a new language from other young children.
This is so because young children are not equipped to understand what they need to do in order to approach or play with other children in a language that they don’t understand or speak. They simply don’t know what to do!
For this reason group environments are tricky in that young children are not receiving one-on-one language interaction (groups are great in that they get to be with other children, but they are not great in terms of optimal language development). A great strategy is to engage the parents in the language learning process in the classroom and/or at home.
3) Young children learn better when they are exposed to the new language in different settings.
In order to acquire a new language, young children need to hear it frequently and have many opportunities to apply it in everyday life.
In fact, at this young age frequency is more important than length of exposure. For example, hearing Chinese for 20 minutes several times during the week is better than doing so for 2 straight hours on Saturday.
Engaging parents come in very handy here as well. You will soon discover that parents are the real secret weapon for advanced language learning. This concept is at the core of my system.
What Can You Do With These Unique Challenges of Early Language Learning?
Once we recognize these challenges, it is easier to come up with solutions, and the one that I propose is… You bet! Getting YOU, the parents, involved!
So you don’t speak the language? No problem! I mentioned earlier the many other advantages that you have, and I forgot to mention the following:
Just as young children are equipped with a great brain to learn language, parents are equipped with an amazing brain to teach language.
Think about it. From the moment our baby is born, we adapt our speech so that we use a higher pitch, use a soothing or enthusiastic voice to adapt to our child’s mood, keep eye contact, behave in a more playful and goofy manner, offer vocabulary when our child looks at something, etc, etc.
Those are THE BEST, language-teaching skills one could possibly ask for in order to teach languages to young children, and they come to us (parents) naturally.
Introducing my Ana Lomba Easy Immersion® System for Parents and Parent-Entrepreneurs
Ana Lomba’s Easy Immersion® is a language learning system geared to parents, parent-entrepreneurs, and early childhood teachers like you who want to expose and challenge young children to learn fluent everyday language at home or in their schools or programs.
The premise behind the Ana Lomba’s Easy Immersion® system is that the quality of the adult-child interaction, the intensity and intentionality of the content, and the frequency of the sessions will together have a bigger impact than long but unfocused, “sink-or-swim” periods of immersion in the language.
My mission is to make immersion an everyday staple for young children. Only a few lucky people have a great immersion school around the corner, however this should not be a show-stopper for the remaining hundreds of millions of children!
It is time to modify and bring the best strategies and practices of immersion to other settings. The way to do this is by involving more players, such as parents and non-specialist teachers, and designing suitable strategies to help them become effective as they reinforce the new language in their particular situation.
Informed parents, caregivers and non-specialist educators can provide the following KEY elements of high-quality language immersion:
- Personal interaction.
- Extended time exposure to language in context.
- Engagement in meaningful learning tasks.
- Engagement in early literacy.
Moreover, language-learning adults can be the best models for young children as they try to learn the language themselves.
Language teachers can play a big role in making this happen by engaging the parents and creating a community of language learners.
This is what the Ana Lomba’s Easy Immersion® system is about: connecting people and giving them the tools to bring immersion to young children no matter what their circumstances are or where they live.
How the Ana Lomba’s Easy Immersion® System Works
At first, learning a new language in an immersive way with your child can seem challenging – especially if all your previous experience has been with words and phrases or just putting a DVD in a computer and letting your child learn on his or her own. My system involves immersion in fluent language after all.
However, as you keep using the books and CDs, applications, and e-storybooks, you will notice that you understand more and more and be able to use the games, songs, and other activities with your children IN the target language.
The key is to stick to it and understand that the initial bump will get smoother.
Language proficiency scales with frequent exposure, and you, the parent, are uniquely positioned to set your child up for success. All you need is the right advice and parent-friendly resources, and I am committed to help you every step of the way.
Parent-entrepreneurs and language teachers –
My system is designed so that you can engage parents either through parent-child groups or by making them active participants from home. The offerings include:
- Informational guides such as the Spanish for Preschoolers E-Guide to help you get started and create your own parent-friendly curriculum.
- School promotional codes for my e-storybook collections that you can use to engage the parents at home while raising funds for your program (check the Spanish for Kids, French for Kids and Chinese for Kids pages to find more about this service).
- Lesson plans and curriculum licensing for those who prefer to start teaching and make an income right away without having to expend a lot of years developing lesson plans and materials like I did. This option will also free your time to focus on other important areas such as management, marketing, and teacher training.
I invite you to explore my website at your own pace, but before you do anything else, you may want to join my e-mail list.
Joining the list is a good idea if you want to get familiar with my Ana Lomba’s Easy Immersion® system and keep in the loop with new tips, strategies, and resources.
To join the list, simply insert your name and e-mail address. This information will be kept private and not be shared with others. Sign up on any page on this site (side column).
Thank you for reading this introduction to my system and I hope to keep in touch.
Wishing you all the best teaching languages to young children,
P. S. What you do as a parent at home can make the difference between being stuck in a novice level forever or reaching advanced levels in time to make the most of this terrific skill in college and in the work place (most kids graduating from American schools today never go beyond the novice level).
Early childhood is the best place for parents to jump on the language wagon, and I can show you HOW to do it.
P.P.S. It’s all about understanding critical information such as the three facts I shared with you about early language learning, and looking for strategies to maximize your child’s potential.
So don’t wait and join my e-mail list to receive more information that you can use right away. Again, your information will remain confidential.