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10th  Raising Bilingual Kids – Part Two

投稿者: Miki 更新日:2007年04月14日

10th Raising Bilingual Kids – Part Two

●Making the most of your child’s study-abroad experience in Hawaii
With summer fast approaching, many Japanese families are planning to spend the season in Hawaii for a chance to expose their kids to the English language. Some will join summer school, others will spend the few weeks in complete leisure. With that in mind, I often get asked how best to maximize their English-learning experience while vacationing here. My quick answer is simple: let them have FUN. But there are also plenty of activities around town to keep their noodles churning outside the classroom.

書店で開催されるお話の時間。さすがはベテラン! スタッフが選ぶ絵本に子供達はいつも聞き入っている!

One advice I often give parents is to read tons and tons of books to their children. What to do if you yourself can’t read in English? You have someone else do it for you! On Tuesdays and Saturdays, starting at 11:00 a.m., it’s “Story Time” at Barnes & Nobles bookstores at Kahala Mall and Ala Moana Shopping Center. At both stores, expert storytellers engage kids of all ages with books by the latest and greatest authors, as well as with the classics and seasonal stories. Most toddlers can barely sit still for the first few pages (as was the case with mine), but that’s OK. Kids absorb words and sounds even through passive listening, so the more the exposure, the better. I’m positive older kids will love being read to as well. While you’re there, why not pick up a few books? I highly recommend books that come with narrated CDs so that you can pop them in the car stereo on your ride home.


For more storytelling, head to the local library . Most locations offer weekly or monthly story time for all ages, like on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. at the Aina Haina and Kaimuki libraries. And once you register for a library card, you can also borrow books, DVDs, and plenty of kids’ videos. When my little girl was a toddler, she had a slight problem with possessiveness (still does), and couldn’t handle the sorrow of returning certain books she loved back to the library. So for book bargains, we usually head to Ross, the discount store. Most Ross stores have a decent selection of educational hardback books and popular Disney titles, Baby Einstein series, Thomas the Tank Engine, and more, at least half off regular price. I also shop Ross for books to take to Japan as omiyage.


Don’t know where to take your active tots? Play centers such as Gymboree Play & Music in Kaimuki and WeePlay & Learn in Hawaii Kai, are great places for kids as little as newborns to get exposed to English songs and games. Both places offer teacher-guided classes full of creative and interactive play using bubbles, parachutes, balls, and instruments. There are tunnels, slides, and climbing toys galore, sure to exhaust even the most ambitious toddler during one of their 45-minute sessions. Besides their classes, WeePlay also schedule “open play” sessions when kids are free to romp around and engage in their own activities. Both Weeplay and Gymboree require fees to join their classes, but be sure to take advantage of their free preview sessions.


But at the end of the day, the best bet your kids will absorb the native language is for them to hang out with native-speaking kids. One of my favorite memories of summers spent in Hawaii is of hanging out at the Ilikai Hotel swimming pool with kids my age (we rented a condo there). With play involved, making friends was easy and effortless, and those friendships turned into frequent play dates throughout the summer, and some as long-lasting relationships as pen pals (I guess that would be “email pals” these days). If you discover your kids forging a kinship with others, seek their parents, and ask them if they’d be interested in arranging more play dates.

Play dates are casual and common here, much like huis, or “baby circles,” among moms in Japan. They can happen at a park, or hosted at your home. Whichever the case, play dates are a gold mine of opportunities to engage kids in child-like conversation and to practice the everyday, vernacular English.

I won’t deny the fun and comfort of spending time with other Japanese families, especially when you’re trying to get by on a daily basis in a foreign country. But by limiting the social circle, you’re also hindering your kids’ chances to interact in the English language. And while you’d hope that your kids will practice speaking English with their Japanese friends, chances are high that they won’t. At the least, have an English video playing in the background, or better yet, include a couple of English-speaking friends in the picture. The most important thing is to maximize your kids’ exposure to the language. So be brave, branch out, and expand your own horizons ? for the sake of the kids!!

●ハパママ流「ハワイでめざせ! バイリンガル・キッズ」
そろそろ夏休みの予定を立てはじめる時期ですね! 親子でハワイ留学を計画されている読者の方も多いのではと思い、第4回の「バイリンガル・キッズ」に引き続き、ハワイで役立つ(かもしれない、あくまでもハパママ流)英語子育てのヒントを集めてみました。ハワイではサマー・スクールや短期講習の他にも英語を学べる機会がありますし、放課後の自由時間に利用できるスポットも結構あるので、ここでざっとご紹介します。詳しい情報はこのサイトの関連記事やリンク(英語サイト)で確認して下さいね。

まず、保護者の方にアピールしたいのは、お子さんに英語の本に触れるチャンスをできるだけ沢山与えてあげる事です。「上手に読んであげられないから」とためらわないで、ハワイに数多くある図書館やブックストアで常時行われる「ストーリー・タイム(お話の時間)」でネイティブの方に任せちゃいましょう。カハラ・モールとアラモアナ・センターにある大型ブックストアのバーンズ・アンド・ノーブルでは、毎週火曜日と土曜日の11時から無料で参加できるストーリー・タイムが開催されています。ここでは、ベテランのスタッフが優れた本をピックアップして、子供たちに読み聞かせてくれます。お店の奥に位置する子供専用のエリアで行われるのですが、ローカルの子供達と交じってお話の時間に夢中になれるはずです。じっとしてられなくても、無意識的に英語が耳を通っていくものです。 ストーリー・タイムが終わったら、何千冊と並ぶ絵本をめくってみたり、(必ず目立つようにディスプレイされている)最近の図書賞の受賞品や名作も是非チェックしてみて下さい。CDやカセット付の絵本は特にオススメ。ナレーションを聞きながら文章をフォローしたり、ドライブ中にお子さんと一緒に聞いてみるのも英語力アップにつながりますよ。






■関連情報 / 大型書店バーンズ&ノーブルがアラモアナにオープン(2005年11月記事)
■ファミリー情報 / ジンボリー・プレー&ミュージック・クラス


When is your “Story Time” for kids?

I’d like to see a preview session. My child is OO-years-old.


Our kids play well. They should play together again soon.

Can you come over for a play date some time?

娘:エリン・霧江(きりえ)、愛称キーちゃん。外見は恥かしがり屋、家では結構「キレちゃう」典型的内弁慶。ハロー・キティとパパをこよなく愛す保育園児。ちなみに、ハワイの人達のひとついいところは名前に「ちゃん」付けをしても分かってくれること。サンフランに住んでた頃、「キーちゃん、キーちゃん」と呼んでる私は廻りの人に「なんだそりゃ? 中国語かい?」と聞くかの様に変な顔をされました。こっちでは白人でも平気に「キーちゃん」と呼んでくれます。 

この記事が属するカテゴリー: アロハダイアリー
関連キーワード: Part Two,