June 12, 2017

Introduction to French and Spanish with Whistlefritz Language Programs for Kids {Review}

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Although my son is still a preschooler, I have often toyed with the idea of allowing him to start a foreign language program much sooner than later. Experts always say the earlier the better, so when I was presented with the opportunity to offer him lessons using the Educator's Spanish Collection from Whistlefritz, I knew now would be the perfect time to start moving forward with those foreign language lessons.


Whistlefritz Spanish



Whistlefritz is an award winning foreign language educational program that has been around since 2006. Designed by early elementary teachers, the program is geared towards children, ages one through seven, and comes in two different versions, Spanish (the one we've been using) and French. Now you may be wondering how one program could work for such a broad age range. I had originally wondered the same thing, myself. That was until I realized that each collection combines a variety of different tools and methods to offer age-appropriate lessons that are both engaging and effective.


Whistlefritz


Before I go on about the program in more detail, I would first like to note my own personal experience with learning a foreign language, which coincidentally was Spanish. I remember learning the basics from some of my close friends who were of Hispanic decent. I didn't really get into the depth of the language until I was required to take two years of it in high school. By that point, I had a really tough time grasping a lot of what was being taught, especially when it came to verb tenses and lengthy writing assignments. Perhaps I was already at an age where it was difficult for me to take it all in, or maybe it was the method of teaching being used. It's really hard to say at this point. Many moons have passed since then, and now that I'm a mother who is looking out for my own child's educational well-being, I knew that I didn't want him to struggle with learning a foreign language like I did.

This brings me back to the Whistlefritz program that offers a special way of teaching that I really wish I had when I was younger. You see the lessons use something called language immersion.This means that children will learn the lessons in the actual foreign language being taught, without the use of translations. Everything that the child sees, watches, or hears will solely be in that language.


Whistlefritz Spanish  


Now I do have a confession to make, I was initially skeptical that such a program wouldn't personally work for us. The fact that my son is quite young and still trying to master his own native language, made me wonder if it was even a good idea to get him started just yet. I didn't want to push him into something he might not be ready for–then to honestly have him begin a program using the immersion method only added to my worries. I can say with confidence that my worries soon changed after our first lesson. If you're doubtful, like I was, I am here to tell you to push those doubts aside and just go for it! Seriously, because you will be astounded by the results!




One of the things that I really like about the Educator's Spanish Collection is that it includes multiple components, so whether your child is a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner (or a little of each), there is something available in this program for them:

  • Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids Book (Curriculum with 40 Interactive Lesson Plans)
  • Five Spanish for Kids Video DVDs
  • Three Spanish for Kids Music CDs
  • Spanish Matching Cards Game



Since the program was made to accommodate a broad age group you can adapt the lessons to how you see fit for your own child. Some days, we will watch a video and do one or two of the lesson plans. Other days, we'll have a dance session using the CDs included in the program or recap what we've learned on previous days. Other times, we'll play a few fun games of memory using the matching cards, while also listening to some Spanish for Kids tunes in the background. 







The DVDs are amazing, especially if your child is preschool age or younger. My son enjoyed the viewing programs immensely and I've found them to be an essential part of the program that really made a difference in his lessons. These were my son's favorite aspect of the program and for good reason, too. The videos include a mix of cartoon characters and real people, including children. This is helpful, because as my son watches them, he observes other children just like him, speaking the language. This makes him excited to follow suite.












My little animal lover especially enjoys the Los Animales (The Animals) DVD. This one has to be his favorite of all the videos:







This animal bingo activity from Lesson 32, Who's There? (¿Quién está ahí?), was also a hit, but instead of using regular bingo chips, we used animal toys that actually matched the animals on the board:


 


Since beginning the Whistlefritz Spanish program, I have noticed that my son has developed such an eagerness to learn the language that it actually continues outside of our actual lessons. After the initial lesson, I decided to show him how to say his numbers in Spanish. I couldn't believe how quickly he picked them up. It was almost immediate! Now, during his regular playtime, I can hear him speaking Spanish and repeating the vocabulary words that we've learned in previous lessons. Honestly, I think it's the most amazing thing!




After beginning the program, I made sure to also visit Whistlefritz's website to grab some of the extra free downloads that they offer to accompany the video and music lessons, including a set of translation guides and several additional lesson plans that are not already included in the Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids book. Some of these stand-alone lesson plans include sheets of full-color flash cards that I was able to print and laminate, so that we can use them over and over again in a variety of different learning activities.





The A Comer (To Eat) lessons use a variety of fruit themed flash cards to accompany the lesson.



My son enjoyed Lesson 3, Fritzi's Presents (Regalos de Fritzi), where he was able to use numbered present cards to practice color and number recognition in Spanish. The original lesson allows for children to first color the cards, available in the lesson book, however the company also makes a downloadable version that's already colored, which was perfect for us and what we actually used.


 


One day, as I was reading ahead on the lessons plans, I found one called Zoo Animals (Animales del zoologico). The lesson involved learning the names of various zoo animals. It also incorporated the book Goodnight Gorilla into the lesson. I was excited about this, since it has always been a personal favorite here in our home. Needless to say, I was quick to add that one to our calendar.






 

These full-color shape flash cards (also downloadable through the website) were wonderful for teaching colors and shapes in Spanish. They are made available in the lesson book for coloring, but it was especially convenient having a set that was already colored. I also laminated an additional set and made sure to add the names of each shape and color right to the front of the cards, which really helped during the lessons.





We've been having a blast with the Whistlefritz Educator's Spanish Collection. Hey, even I'm learning an extra thing or two! What's wonderful is that my son is actually excited about learning a new language. Not only is he attentive during each lesson, but he's been speaking various words while relating them to his regular day to day activities. I guess what they say is true, children really do soak up more the younger they are. He's been picking up so much in such a short time. I couldn't be any more pleased with the program,  and definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to teach their child Spanish or French.





To learn more about Whistlefritz be sure to also connect with them on social media:

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Read what the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say:


Spanish and French {Whistlefritz Reviews}


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2 comments:

Brenda Loves Sharing said...

You are such an awesome mom! You go above and beyond in what you do to teach your son! It's so neat to read about in your posts. Anyway, language immersion is a really great way to learn. In college, my American Sign Language professor wad Deaf, so he never spoke to us, and only signed. We learned so much from that class! This curriculum you reviewed looks really neat, and I really like the colorful and fun looking backgrounds and characters in the videos. I also like how you put the toy animals on the bingo board.

Kelly (Our Everyday Harvest) said...

Awwwww thank you so much, Brenda! That really means a lot to me. Truly, it does! I try to do all I can to give him an enriching learning experience.

Wow! I never through about learning ASL through an immersion program. That's really neat. So you know firsthand just how well it can work!

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