Category Archives: Did you know that…?

Were Cervantes and Shakespeare the same person? 

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The 22nd April 2016 marked the 400th year anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, the greatest writer in Spanish Language and author of El Quijote. Isn’t it amazing Shakespeare died 11 days later (May 3rd) on the same year?! Spooky.
I have heard in the past great theories about them actually being the same person. However a more likely theory which I read in a magazine by the British Spanish Society (also celebrating its 100 anniversary this year) is that Shakespeare co-wrote at least two plays with John Fletcher who was a Hispanophile. Fletcher would have known about Cervantes’ writing, and it is through this connection that Shakespeare’s writing may have been influenced by the Spanish writer. Even 400 years ago the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory must have worked! Download your Cervantes and Shakespeare bookmarks to celebrate their great genius.

To celebrate the amazing legacy Cervantes has left us, we have collated some ideas you can do with the children to introduce them to the amazing adventures of El Quijote.

If you want them to learn about Cervantes, we have found a slightly robotic video which explains his biography simply. It is a bit odd but cute.

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Las fallas

FALLAS DE VALENCIA

Las Fallas es una fiesta que se celebran en la ciudad de Valencia y alrededores, de gran carácter nacional y turístico que tiene lugar siempre entre el 15 y el 19 de marzo.

Antes de comenzar a hablar de los principales actos que se dan durante el mes de marzo creo que debo poner nombre y forma a las figuras más importantes que engloban las fallas.

No hay Fallas sin comisiones falleras, ni sus falleros y ni el monumento fallero. No hay barrio que no tenga su comisión fallera o comisiones, todo depende de lo grande que sea el barrio y lo falleros que sean. Los falleros y falleras son quienes forma parte de estas comisiones y los encargados de reunir durante un año el dinero suficiente para montar su monumento fallero.

Durante estos días la ciudad de Valencia se llena de actos, falleros, no falleros y turistas tanto nacionales como internacionales. Entre los actos destacan aquellos que son fijos año tras año, como por ejemplo:

– La Cridà: este acto se celebra el último domingo de febrero y en él la Fallera Mayor de la ciudad convoca en las Torres de Serrano a todas las comisiones falleras e invita a todos los valencianos y visitantes a formar parte de este festejo.

– La Mascletà: desde el 1 de marzo hasta el 19 del mismo mes, todos los días a las 14:00 horas en la plaza del Ayuntamiento tiene lugar la mascletà. Es un evento pirotécnico donde se junta ruido, humo, color y olor. Mucha gente no ve nada interesante este acontecimiento pero los que hemos nacido en la tierra del cohete y nos hemos criado con esa explosión pirotécnica este acto es para nosotros mucho más que ver, es además sentir, oler y oír. Nuestros cuatro sentidos están al 100%. ¿Mi recomendació? Si vas a Valencia a Fallas asiste al menos a una mascletà y deja que tus sentidos de la vista, del oído y del olfato hagan el resto. Cierra los ojos e interioriza cada cohete que estalla.

– La exposición del Ninot: cerca de 800 ninots son expuestos durante varias semanas en este museo con la esperanza de ser indultados y librarse de la Cremà. Cada falla elige el ninot o muñeco más preciado para dicha exposición, la tarde del 14 de marzo se recogen los muñecos infantiles y el 15 de marzo se recogen los ninots adultos.

– La Plantà: durante el 14 y 15 de marzo tiene lugar la Plantà que consiste en erigir las fallas. Durante meses por no decir un año los artistas falleros se encierran en sus talleres para dar forma a la falla. Hasta que no llegan estos dos días la temática de la falla es un secreto guardado bajo llave, solo los miembros de la falla saben por donde van a air los tiros de su falla. El día 16 es cuando el jurado visita cada falla y les otorga una puntuación. Dicha puntuación es muy importante pues la falla que gane el premio ademas de llevarse una compensación económica sube de caché.

– La noche de la Cremà: este acto de cierre de las fiestas. Durante la noche del 19 de marzo, concretamente a las 00:00 horas, se procede a la quema de las fallas grandes. Las fallas infantiles se han quemado antes., y a las 00:30 horas se quema la falla ganadora. Es un acto lleno de emociones pues además de significar el fin de las fiestas, significa el fin de un año lleno de actos, reuniones, ilusiones, nervios, etc.

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Spanish-English bilingual in England. To be or not to be is not the question! How to be it? Is.

Having lived in London for over 17 years it has always amazed me when I come across people whose parents or grandparents are from a different country and they don’t speak anything other than English. Often they say ‘I understand it but I can’t speak it’. I always thought their parents did something wrong! Now that I have children of my own I realise that it is easier than I thought to just let a language go, especially when parents have different first languages to each other and to the local community.

It has to become a really conscious effort in a list of ‘things to do’ that grows every time you look at it. Families in London are already stretched to fit work, activities, play dates, homework, dinner, bath, a fight or two, some t.v. and making space for that elusive ‘quality time’ together. If then you have to add to that people speaking to each other in different languages, it can get difficult!

In our house we are all Spanish and we speak Spanish all the time (supposedly the home language vs community language method) unless there are people around who don’t speak Spanish, we watch T.V. mainly in English, half the books we read to the children are English and half Spanish and the same with games and songs, so we ‘generally’ speak Spanish.

When my children were born I worried they would not be bilingual and therefore would be cut off from a big part of who they are, of understanding who their parents are, cut off from a huge, fun, warm family and having a relationship with their three great grandmothers who are still alive!

If i didn’t help them with Spanish growing up in London, they could be missing out on the ability to communicate with another 500 million people worldwide who speak the language, reading ‘El Quijote’ in its original language, watching ‘como agua para chocolate’ how it was filmed or travelling around 21 countries learning the most they can from different cultures whilst using their native language and feeling like at home.

So my main worry was reading and writing rather than speaking. I would have to teach them myself. And from that motivation Ole Kids was born.

I am really grateful for all the wonderful friends my children and I have made in the past two years through Ole Kids. My children definitely have a better chance of using both languages equally since they now have a strong incentive to do so being part of a spanish speaking community. Research shows it  is often children who chose to give up a language because they don’t have a community to speak it in. www.sociolinguistica.uvigo.es

It is a real privilege to create that space for my children but also for all the other families in London who are interested in Spanish and the cultures that come along with it.

We have seen so many children grow and start using the language through just one hour of class a week that we have surprised ourselves in how effective it is!

So look out for us! Join us! Let’s make that sunny space around us and open a world of opportunity for our children!

The wonders of being multilingual

Current research leads to the belief that speaking two or more languages can add to the cognitive flexibility of the child.

The different connotations and ideas around a word in the different languages allows the child to build a more complex understanding of the world at a younger age.

Although it is never  too late to learn a language, learning  at the early ages is ideal because so much development takes place during these years.

Olé Kids classes encourage all aspects of child development through stories, matching games, movement, arts and crafts, singing and signing and exploring materials and topics.

The choice of mixing children from the ages of 6 months to 4 years old is not an accidental choice but rather an intentional one,  as we believe that in a group lesson the younger ones are encouraged to learn by observing the ability of older children and makes them more confident to speak in public.

If you’re a Spanish speaker you and your child will meet other Spanish speakers and if you’re interested in learning another language with your little one, Spanish is a great choice.

  • Spanish is the official language in 23 countries worldwide
  • Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers
  • Learning a second language at an early age may benefit problem-solving skills and general mental development

Spanish on the go

Parents are realizing more every day the importance of raising their children bilingual, as many of them lose the ability to speak and read in Spanish while growing up in England.Therefore there is the need of seizing every possible moment to practice and encourage them speaking the Spanish language.

This is especially challenging for those parents who work full-time and have a very limited number of hours most days to share their language with their children.

When we’re at home, we can take advantage of games, books, toys, videos, and the simple fact that we’re engaging in face-to-face interactions with them.

But what about those endless hours in the car, driving from one playgroup to another one, running errand upon errand?

The parent is driving, facing forward, no eye contact, hands occupied–not ideal conditions for practicing another language with small (or bigger) children.

So let’s brainstorm as many as possible ways to engage our kids  while we’re on the go!

Here, I’ll start:

Music : Listen to songs in Spanish–children’s music, yes, but also pop music, rap music, folk songs, music from all the countries where Spanish is spoken.  Sing songs to (or with) your children. And don’t forget the nursery rhymes!

Rhyme time: You say a word in Spanish and your kids reply with words that rhyme.  Then let them pick the words to start with. For example: Amarillo – Cuchillo / Noche – Coche, etc.

Counting: Count  together, then count solo and pause for the kids to fill in the next number,etc (whatever the children are capable of); count objects that you pass (stop signs, trees, blue cars).

Guessing Game: Play this vocabulary-rich game that involves guessing what object someone is thinking of, where the guessers can only ask yes/no questions.  A child who can’t form complete sentences (much less questions) can still show his understanding of your questions by answering them while you guess!

I Spy: Another fun and easy game that involves sighting an object (inside or outside the car) and giving clues so that the others can guess the object.

Now it’s your turn….

what do you do to keep your kids

practicing Spanish while on the go?

Spanish Facts

SABIAS QUE………

Spanish is the official language in 23 countries worldwide.

★ Baby signing reinforces the use of verbal language and promotes language learning through concept.

★ Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers.

★ The best resource for your children to learn another language is for you to learn it with them.

★ Learning a second language at an early age may benefit problem-solving skills and general mental development.