Pre-schoolers in one of our Spanish Minnetonka classes recently took a trip to Cuba! They learned how to tie headscarves, or turbans, in the Cuban fashion and made their own maracas with which to play some música cubana! Children also enjoyed looking at some of the vintage automobiles that are a feature of Cuban life, coloring in some of their own models to bring home.
Chinese preschoolers in Minnetonka celebrated Valentine’s Day last week with a “heart throwing” game at the beginning. Heart shaped bean bags were given to the students to toss into the hula circle a distance away on the floor. It got more exciting when they added the bull-eye in the center, with the thrill of a “ding ding ding” sound added in!
At a recent professional development workshop, Language Discovery teachers stepped out of their own comfort zones to participate in a multilingual language exchange, taking on the perspective of a language learner. We ask ourselves: What do the children in our classes find daunting? What does it feel like to not understand everything? What helps us to find courage? What gives us a sense of accomplishment and joy?
We are delighted to announce the opening of our first exhibit of children’s art as part of the Mini-Barnekunstmuseet, a collaboration between Norway House and Concordia Language Villages. Our first exhibit features the wondrous sea-faring world of the Vikings. What kinds of creatures did they encounter at sea? Which creatures are real, and which are made of fantasy?
What does it mean when we talk about play-based learning as a strategy we use to teach language and culture to our pre-K and elementary aged villagers? Certainly, it means that we play games in class, that we make things fun, that the process of learning a language looks less like studying and more like there’s a party in progress. But it’s not just about the games; it’s about the process of play moving from teacher-led to villager-led interactions, and about the language becoming a thing of group, rather than individual, ownership.