Because of heritage, sense of adventure, or diverse national origins, some parents in the PSP community have decided to raise their children speaking languages other than English. The benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism are manifold for learners of all ages. For starters, the New York Times has declared that “bilingualism makes you smarter” and can even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Now is the time to cure monolingualism once and for all—let’s do it, PSP!
Join a PSP Language Group (see the full list HERE)!
The PSP Language/Bilingual Groups help parents connect and exchange information on classes, playgroups, festivals, conferences, activities, and anything you can think of that relates to languages other than English. Locating Spanish-language resources like books and DVDs is easier than finding resources in Farsi, so please share all you know if you are teaching your children other languages, especially if the resources are more difficult to find. PSP will collect reviews and resources, and we look forward to hearing all about you and your bi-tri-multilingual families in order to ultimately build a community of polyglots. Join your PSP Language/Bilingual group HERE.
Download the Park Slope Parents Guide to Raising Bilingual Children
The PSP Guide to Raising Bilingual Children features 25+ pages of wisdom, including crowd-sourced experiences from multilingual families in Brooklyn, professional advice from experts in the field, and links to outside resources to help you deepen your own research. This guide is available at no additional cost for members. Learn more and get the link HERE!
Consider enrolling in a dual-language program
Many schools in Brooklyn offer dual-language (DL) programs beginning in kindergarten. DL programs group English-proficient students and English learners together to consume the curriculum in two languages, creating an immersive experience and allowing students to develop new language skills and share cultural heritage.
For more information on DL programs, check out:
The Department of Education’s 2020 NYC Kindergarten Admissions Guide - Chapter 7 includes detailed information on the DL programs available in your school district.
The DoE’s web page on Programs for English Language Learners.
The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second Language, Kendall King, PhD, and Alison Mackey, PhD: The authors are linguistics professors at Georgetown University. Between them, they have written nearly a hundred research articles and books on bilingualism and language teaching methods. Also, they are both parents, teaching their children more than one language.
Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children, Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa: The most recent studies in linguistics, neurology, education, and psychology are evaluated and the findings are presented in a recipe format. Parents and teachers are encouraged to bake their own and evaluate the multilingual children in their lives with the use of tools which include a family language profile and family language goals worksheet.
Be Bilingual—Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families, Annika Bourgogne: Multilingual families from all around the world have contributed by sharing their best resources and tips on how to make growing up with two or more languages an enjoyable experience.
Bilingual by Choice: Raising Kids in Two (or more!) Languages, Virginie Raguenaud: For parents, educators, immigrants and expatriates, Bilingual by Choice deals directly with the obstacles to sustaining a second language, including unsupportive relatives, issues at school, frequent relocations and discrimination, countering each one with the author's firsthand experience with both sides of the growing-up-bilingual journey, as a child and as a parent.
Raising a Bilingual Child (Living Language Series), Barbara Zurer Pearson: Raising a Bilingual Child offers both an overview of why parents should raise their children to speak more than one language and detailed steps parents can take to integrate two languages into their child’s daily routine.
Raising Bilingual Children: A Practical Guide, Maritere Rodriguez Bellas: Author and parenting expert Mari Bellas provides answers to questions such as: What do I do when my five-year-old doesn’t want to speak Spanish at home? My husband doesn’t speak Korean, so how do we find common ground to raise our kids with two languages? My child is two years old and not speaking in either of the two languages we speak at home—should I be concerned?
7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child, Naomi Steiner and Susan L. Hayes: This book helps parents in both monolingual and multilingual families determine and achieve their bilingual goals for their child, whether those goals are understanding others, the ability to speak a second language, reading and/or writing in two languages, or some combination of all of these.
List of reference books on multilingualism and language development for parents and teachers from the Multilingual Children’s Association
List of books on bilingualism and multilingualism from Omniglot
15 books for parents and educators of bilingual children from Multilingual Parenting
Brooklyn Public Library: Use interlibrary loan to search the full catalogue, order books, and have them delivered to your local branch.
Blogs and websites
The New York Times, “Raising a Truly Bilingual Child”
HealthyChildren.org, “7 Myths and Facts About Bilingual Children Learning Language”
Linguistic Society of America, “FAQ: Raising Bilingual Children”
UpToTen.com has fun kids’ games that will allow you to switch languages so that you can give your children more exposure to language outside of person-to-person communication.
TalkBox.Mom is a comprehensive, subscription-based system that gets your whole family speaking the target language. “Try not to be offended by the ".mom" website address!! Anyone can use it, and it's really great.”
The International School of Brooklyn lists resources for young learners in English, Spanish, and French on its Student Resources page.
Gray Tortuga offers resources and products for parents raising children bilingually in Spanish or Mandarin.
YouTube: Search to see you can find popular videos in different languages. Ask your PSP Language group about great resources they’ve found.
Spotify: Use the “Browse” function to explore Spotify’s music libraries in different languages. There are lots of premade Spanish-language playlists, but also Hindi, Arabic, Korean (K-Pop), and more.
Local resources and classes
Idlewild Books: Language classes & travel bookstore in Carroll Gardens
Multilingual Storytime at the Brooklyn Public Library
Ms. Anza’s Spanish Sing-Along at Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill
The Language and Laughter Studio: Early childhood education from native speakers in Downtown Brooklyn
Lango Foreign Languages for Kids: preschool, classes, and camps in Boerum Hill
French and Spanish Summer Language Immersion Program at the International School of Brooklyn in Carroll Gardens
Mommy Poppins has a list of 10 Dual-Language and Immersion Preschools in Brooklyn.
PSP Membership Discounts for language-related activities and classes
Explore the PSP Pre-K - Dual Language category for member-reviewed schools with dual-language programs. Also check out the NYC Department of Education’s inventory of bilingual education programs in Brooklyn.
If you’re a parent in Brooklyn and you’re not yet a PSP member, let’s fix that. Join us HERE and get access to the Advice Group as well as dozens of other baby groups, career groups, and cultural/multilingual groups. Read about all of our groups here!