9.19.2008

Beyond the Language Barrier


My kidlets attend a state preschool that serves the low income families of the local area (yes, we are among those low income citizens, but that's another post altogether). This is Little Miss' second year at this school, and she has blossomed into a beautiful social butterfly, due in part to her experiences at this school (it doesn't hurt to have a sparkling personality!). Whatever your opinions on preschool, homeschooling, or our education system (or immigration)...I want to share with you why I believe this experience has benefited me and my children.

Little Miss has benefited from a better understanding of another culture, the Hispanic culture here in Southern California. While not a comprehensive understanding, she has brought home some very wonderful qualities that I attribute to the 95% Hispanic population of her classroom.


Little Miss has learned a good deal of basic Spanish. She can say her numbers, colors, and and basic greetings. This is not due to her teachers or the school (the class is taught in English), but to her little classmates who rattle off to her while playing tea party or painting a masterpiece with their fingers. These little girls teach my daughter everyday about acceptance and love-they do not mind that she can't communicate to them in their language-they do not reject her or look down their noses at her. On the contrary, they embrace her and invite her into their Spanish speaking world. My daughter's teacher spoke to me about how Little Miss will prattle on in English and her friends will return with only Spanish words. Yet, the playing, laughing and hand holding continues on through out the day. She commented that it's fascinating to watch. No doubt. Learning a second language is always beneficial. In high school, I chose french to take instead of Spanish. I don't regret my knowledge of french-I have retained a good deal. However part of me is a little sad when I can't communicate more openly with my Hispanic parental counterparts.
My Son is getting this same wonderful experience in his class, although his teacher says more of the children in his class are English speakers. His teacher makes a point to tell me that as a boy, Little Man communicates on a far more basic level. Often times there is no speaking at all, just grunts and rocket ship noises. My son comes home every day excitedly saying "That was fun!"


The parents can also teach me a few things. The Hispanic culture at large is very respectful. They are courteous and polite and show me the same acceptance their children demonstrate. While our language barrier is much thicker and entrenched in cultural stereotypes, we share a common ground: our love for our children. I have no idea how many parents or their children are illegals, and frankly I don't care. It has never come up and it never will. We are too busy tending to the welfare of our families.
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Thanks to Amanda at Kiddio for adding me to her Friday Finds for the
Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

2 comments:

  1. Such a neat post. I love seeing your kids enjoying preschool! And it's wonderful that they are becoming so enriched by the experience!!

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  2. I agree, I agree with all you said Michelle!

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