Children, Education, Parenting

Stimulate culture in our children

By Maria Eugenia Fanti

@marufanti

Children have the ability to learn and internalize the knowledge of their environment very quickly; in this process parents play an important role. According to the Congress of brilliant minds of Madrid 80% of what children are learning happens in the house and not in school. The example of parents, especially of the mother is irreplaceable in the development of the child.

Help the child with the homework, readings, and stimulate their cultural training will determine the success of his academic life. Thus, it is necessary that parents have higher studies and try to maintain a high level of culture that will encourage the love of learning by the child.

Below are some tips to help children to have culture and good education:

1) Have many books at home and give example reading it.

2) Visit museums such as the science, the children’s museum, among others.

3) Go to art exhibitions

4) Go to theater and see children’s play.

5) Take the kids to Ballet and other dances show such as Flamenco or artistic performances by other countries, so that expand their knowledge about other cultures.

6) Watch documentaries with your children about nature, scientific topics, and the planets, among others.

7) Teach them a second language and encourage bilingualism.

8)Stimulate creative activities such as: art classes and games about new and interesting knowledge.

9)Teach them music from other countries, teach them to listen and appreciate classical music.

Children, Education, Parenting

Inspiring our Children

Communicating with our kids in a proper manner is a goal that does not escape from our list of how to be better parents. But we also have to remember a good example can define the course of their behavior to the rest of their lives.

By Maria Eugenia Fanti @marufanti 

Parenting by photostock

Sometimes as parents we lose the strength, hope that we’re doing the right thing. But, if we discourage how are we going to be able to inspire our children? Parents have to help them to love what they do, teach them to be happy with their lives. But, not only the happiness is the goal. Parents must teach them how to fall and how to stand up, explain to them that life have hard moments, difficult situations, but they cannot let themselves fall into despair. A friend once told me: “you can not walk the road for your children, you have to teach them how to walk the road by themselves”. Very wise words, nobody can live the life of other, that is a fact, every human being goes through their experiences and internalize them in a different way, but we can inspire others, especially our children.

Be a good example, do not say one thing and do another, be honest, sincere, always looking for spaces to communicate with your children, share time with them, play together, watch a sunset, playing sports, hug them, tell them “I love you” and also tell them that you will always be there to listen and they can rely on you.

Copyright © 2015 María Eugenia Fanti. Todos los Derechos reservados

Picture by Free Digital Photos

Children, Education, Parenting

“El Elefantico Perdido”: New Spanish Book for kids

Foto Elefante tomando solDo you want to practice Spanish with your children? Are you looking for a good book to read to them? We recommend you “El Elefantico Perdido” a children’s story that tries to transmit the virtue of obedience, understood as a principle of good conduct and a moral habit. Obedience is an essential element in the psychosocial development of the child who needs to be integrated into society that has rules and to live in it must comply with them.

Obedience is a virtue that is not in fashion today. It is mistakenly presumed to be obedient is a lack of freedom and the reality is that both values are interrelated. Hence, the premise of the story is summarized in the phrase of the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: “My freedom ends where it begins the other”. With this tale is transmitted to the child the importance of these two concepts: “obedience and freedom”.

Foto Elefante en PalmeraThe author of the tale is the Venezuelan-American journalist María Eugenia Fanti. This is her first book for children. Her main inspiration to write this story are her children and also two authors that from her childhood generated a deep love of literature, they are: the Nicaraguan Ruben Dario and the Venezuelan Aquiles Nazoa. “As a writer and mother, I would like to offer to the parents a book for the noble task of educating our children in human values,” says the author.

The illustrator of the tale is Hermann Medina. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Course studies in Electronic Engineering in France. He worked in Caracas Metro Company. Today, he lives in Houston, Texas and is dedicated to one of his passions: art. El Elefantico Perdido is his first job as an illustrator of children’s stories. He joined this project because he believes in faithfully teach the importance of human values to children, to build a better world.

To buy the book online or print visit: El Elefantico Perdido  

Here a preview of the book:

El Elefantico Perdido
El Elefantico …
By Maria Eugenia Fanti
Photo book

Copyright © 2015 María Eugenia Fanti. All rights reserved.

Education, Parenting

Creative kids: born or made?

What is creativity and why is so important to have it nowadays? Why should we help our kids to be more creative? Did you know that we should allow them to get bored so they can develop their ability to be creative?

Creatividad  by Idea goBy María Eugenia Fanti

When we take time to appreciate some pieces of work from masters like: Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 or when we read masterpieces as King Lear of William Shakespeare, Ulysses of James Joyce, we ask ourselves how these artist did such a great job? And the answer is: creativity.

What is creativity and why is so important to have it nowadays? The concept of creativity is wide because is an association not only of thoughts, but values. Laura Tobi, an expert in Education and New Technologies explain to us: “creativity is an interesting and novel way to solve a problem. People can be creative in a positive or in a bad way. As parents we should plant in our children the desire to be creative, but with moral values”

Continue reading “Creative kids: born or made?”

Education

The power of bilingualism

The knowledge of a second language is nowadays an important topic. Many scientists and psychologists study how speaking more than one language make children more intelligent and even help adults to prevent dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

 by María Eugenia Fanti

In the past century many educators and researchers considered a second language to be an obstruction with child’s academic and intellectual development. Now, new research shows that it is complete the opposite and that idea is just an ancient myth. Some of those studies that support the importance of raising bilingual children were made in: 2004 by the psychologist Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee from York University [The development of two types of inhibitory control in monolingual and bilingual children (1)] and the other one was made in 2009 by Agnes Kovacs of the International School for Advance Studies in Trieste, Italy [Cognitive gains in 7-month-old bilingual infants (2)]

Both studies demonstrated that bilingual children perform better than monolinguals, because their brains are more efficient in different mental tasks and processes. So as a conclusion it show that bilinguals are smarter.

The Ph. D Barbara Zurer Pearson in her book “Raising Bilingual Child” said: “two days after a baby born, could know the different between two languages. So the early we introduce the other language is better”.

Zurer Pearson also wrote in her book that: “learn another language is easier for children younger than 10 years old, and easiest for those with less than 5 years old if we compere that process with the effort of an adult”.

Most of the experts agree with Zurer Pearson and think the best ages to learn another language are: 1) from newborn to 3 years old, this is the optimal period; 2) from 2 to 7 years old, the child still can learn the second language like a native speaker and 3) 10 to 13 years old, the child can do it well, but he has to translate and use their mother tongue like reference to get the new language”.

Strategies for raising bilingual children

There is not doubt that as parents we have to encourage our children to learn a second and also a third language. This education has to start at home, because unfortunately school is not always as good as it should be in that matter. Some advice for raising bilingual children are:

1)   Decision: decide who is going to talk with the child in your mother tongue at home and stick with the plan. The success depends on consistency.

2)   Read: read good books to your children everyday, use books in Spanish or bilingual. Go to the library; ask your family from your native country to bring them books also.

3)   Movies: let them watch movies in Spanish or in the language you want them to learn. It is very important for children associate the new language not only with familiar activities, but also with fun activities and things that they like.

4)   Play: kids learn by playing, so play a lot with them in your mother tongue. Also, make play dates with other children and families who also want to raise them bilingual.

5)    Sing: children love music and they don’t have problem to listen the same song again and again, so this is a good way to motivate them to listen and repeat the language and at the same time to have fun.

6)   Cultural events: try to go with your children to events that celebrate your origin and your culture. Keep your Spanish traditions awake. That’s a good opportunity for your child to practice the language and for them to know your culture.

7)   Travel: go to your natal country as often as you can, this is a good chance for your children to practice the language. If you can’t do it, receive at home a family member or a friend, who only speak your native language, then for a season your children can practice.

8)   Courses: in Miami there are many good school where the children can take extra lessons and learn another language very well like: Inlingua, English Spot and Shelton Academy at Doral. In others parts of Miami-Dade: Berlitz, Education Francaise Florida, Isabella & Ferdinand Spanish Academy and Talk Kids International who offer Mandarin classes.

9)   Student exchange: this alternative is more for teenagers. There are many organization around the world that offer a student exchange programs, then, teens can travel abroad and live with a guest family for a year. It is very good for them, because they learn another language and know a new culture. Those programs are: AFS USA Intercultural Programs (www.afsusa.org), ISEP International Student Exchange Program (http://www.isep.org), among others.

A bright future

The economic crisis increase unemployment, so now in USA more industries have put an award on foreign language skill, so know a second language can help your children secure future jobs.

Also, a recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals made by the neuropsychologist Tamar Gollan of the University of California (3), found out that persons with a higher degree of bilingualism were more resistant than the one who not to dementia and others symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

So after that, what are you waiting for start talking in other languages to your children? Words are knowledge; skills languages represent a bright future for your children. Don’t waste time, start practicing right now: goodbye, adios, salut, chiao.

(1)Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 11 (1), 2008, 81–93  2008 Cambridge University Press.

(2)http://www.pnas.org/content/106/16/6556

(3)http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8598390

Photo by Idea Go/ Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net