Ask most people and they will tell you probably 1 of 3 things about me:
- I am supremely competitive when it comes to quizzes
- I am a ridiculously big Disney fan
- I am an absolute language and grammar geek
This last point is probably one of the things that has shaped me most. After all, for as long as I can remember I’ve had a serious love affair with languages – studying them right through school, then as a degree, and now as a secondary languages teacher. Along the way I’ve picked up a few extra languages, French and Russian being the main two but there’s been a little German, Spanish and even a spot of Mandarin thrown in just for good measure.
Suffice to say, I truly love languages.
In fact it was one of the things that I missed most when I was on maternity with my eldest daughter. I struggled to find a real outlet to speak anything other than English, or Mummy. The occasional book was read in French and I threw the odd word into conversation with her here and there but to be completely honest I was terrified I would just confuse her. (Don’t worry this isn’t possible, as I explain here!!) I had heard about a class from a friend but as I lived in Wiltshire at the time and the classes were in Bristol I just never got round to attending.
Fast forward to 2017, a second maternity leave and a move back to Cheltenham. It turned out that the class I had heard about in Bristol also ran in Cheltenham and so I hastily enrolled myself, my toddler and my newborn in the group, Babel Babies.
Run by the magnificent Cate, the three of us go each week and explore one of my favourite things in the world, different languages. Ranging from Norwegian to Japanese, and from Arabic to Russian, we sing songs in all different languages as well as having a story each week. For my toddler its a chance to discover her favourite songs and rhymes in a different light, and for my youngest it is a chance for her to actively take part in a group activity. But ultimately it has already ignited a curiosity in both of them about the world around them and all that it has to offer. Not only that (as if that wasn’t enough already) but it also keeps my grey matter going. I’ve learned a huge amount, perfecting my German ‘Wheels on the Bus’ as well as ‘Incy Wincy’ in Arabic (yes really!) as well as meeting a fantastic group of Mums and Dads who all share a love of languages. I haven’t just joined a baby group but rather we’ve joined a community of incredible people.
Are languages important in your household? Are you trying to raise a bilingual baby, or even just get them to use a few words? If you want to read about a fascinating talk (by Cate of Babel Babies) I went to about how to raise a bilingual baby at the Cotswold and Toddler Baby Show, please click here.
Babel Babies run classes in Cheltenham and Bristol every week. If you want to find out more about joining in Cate’s little language revolution, check out her website here.