Learn About Homeschooling...


This video gives an overview of what homeschooling is, the opportunities it provides, and some of the reasons that many parents choose this for their children.

Source: 5minLife Videopedia

Academic Readiness for Kindergarten...


This is a helpful video for parents who have a child about to enter Kindergarten.

Source: 5minLife Videopedia

How to Choose a Preschool...


This is a helpful video for anyone making a decision on choosing a preschool.

Source: 5minLife Videopedia

The Dual Language Advantage...

If you’re a parent, then you know how quickly kids learn. One minute they’re saying only mommy and daddy, and the next they’re running around speaking in full sentences. A child’s mind is literally like a sponge during this time, they’re learning, watching and trying to imitate everything that goes on around them. For this reason, it’s a great time to think about teaching your child a second language.

If Possible…Learn a New Language Early
More than any other time in our lives, people have the easiest time learning a new language or other skills when they’re young. A child’s mind, during this time, is already busy learning the language being spoken around them by their parents, brothers or sisters; as a result, it’s very easy for the mind to learn another one during this time too. As with all things, proficiency comes with practice and experience. The important thing will be that they will know the basic vocabulary and will be able to build on it in the years ahead.

Why Learn a Second Language At All?
Some may ask why they should take the time to learn a second language at all. A generic answer to this would probably be to say that knowledge is never wasted, and that learning something new is never a waste of time. A more practical answer, would be to say that times are changing quickly and knowing a second language could make a big difference in your child’s future; 15 to 20 years from now, it might even make the difference between their getting a job over another candidate.

The world is quickly becoming a much smaller and more integrated place. Depending on what area of the country you live in you may have already started to see some of the signs of this. Billboards, advertisements and product packaging at some grocery stores are no longer in just one language, they’re in two or more languages. If you take a look at many of the school districts around the country, you’ll see that something is happening there too. Dual language programs for Pre-K and Kindergarten age children and the primary grades are quickly being added or are in the development stages in many places.

In much the same way that computers, cell phones and other technology slowly entered into our lives 30 years ago, bilingualism is entering into our lives now; and in 15 to 20 years it’s likely to be the norm rather than the exception across the country. Taking the time to teach your children a second language now will give them a distinct advantage as they grow older.

I Don’t Speak A Second Language. How Can I Teach My Child?
If you don’t speak a second language and are wondering how you can possibly teach your child you don’t have to worry. Many publishers and toy manufacturers have realized the change that is slowly taking place and have begun producing bilingual children’s books, storybooks, audio book CDs, big books and toys for this new market. Even kid shows like “Dora the Explorer” are out there now teaching children how to speak more than one language. The point is that, with these types of educational products they’ll begin to see, hear and use the words of the new language you’re trying to teach them in addition to their primary language; that they’ll learn both languages simultaneously.

As the old saying goes “Knowledge is Power”. By taking the time to teach your child a second language now, you’ll be giving them an edge not only for their future careers, but in their daily lives as well. This is the Dual Language advantage.

Dual Language Programs Grow in Popularity Nationally...

Dual-language immersion programs are continuing to expand in schools across the country, Education Week’s Lesli A. Maxwell reports in a recent story. California, Texas, Utah and North Carolina are just a few of the states with popular programs. Maxwell reports that experts estimate that more than 2,000 programs exist nationwide.

Such programs give equal weight and time to English and Spanish. Instruction in each language is alternated, often by half-day or every other day. The classes can be comprised of all English language learners or “two-way” programs that mix ELLs with children who are fluent in English.

I find the popularity of such programs in California particularly interesting. While California voters approved ending bilingual education programs in 1998 and replacing them with English immersion, many districts are implementing dual-language programs. Because of the California law, parents must give permission for their children to take part in the dual programs. Maxwell interviewed Rosa Molina, the executive director of Two-Way CABE, a group that advocates for dual programs, about the positive impact on students.

“They preserve their primary language or their heritage language, they develop a broader worldview that they take into college and the work world, and they gain huge advantages in their cognitive development that translates into flexibility in their thinking and the ability to successfully tackle really rigorous coursework,” Molina said.

The article also mentions an ongoing research study of “two-way” programs in North Carolina conducted by Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas. So far, the study has found the gaps between English language learners and white native English speakers in reading and math were smaller when the ELLs were enrolled in two-way programs than when they were enrolled in other programs.

Fundamentally, the two-way programs no longer segregate English language learners from native English-speaking children. And ideally, when those two groups come together they both benefit by helping each other become stronger in the second language.

“We are not talking about a remedial, separate program for English-learners or foreign-language programs just for students with picky parents,” Collier told Education Week. “These are now mainstream programs where we’re seeing a lot of integration of native speakers of the second language with students who are native English-speakers.”

Article Source: Latino Ed Beat – New Journalism on Latino Children

Dual-language programs growing in Dallas-area schools, across state...

Inside the small classrooms of Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary School, first-grade students detail recipes, in Spanish, for limonada, lemonade. “Agua, hielo, límon.”

In another room, older students construct sentences, in English, with the word “malfunction” as they work through a Star Wars-inspired game. “My brain wasn’t working,” says one boy mischievously. “It had a malfunction.”
Not missing a beat, teacher Charles Stewart tells a Star Wars comrade, “Cesar, turn his brain back on.”

The giggles tumble out. But this is serious teaching and turning brains on is exactly the point. Teaching at this humble elementary school, just west of the Trinity River and a giant new bridge, is part of the most serious restructuring of bilingual education in decades.

Zavala is a dual-language school. It was one of more than a dozen schools in the Dallas, Irving and Grand Prairie school districts that opened their doors this month to teachers and principals attending the 41st convention of the National Association for Bilingual Education. Dual-language teaching was showcased as a way to accelerate learning and close achievement gaps.

Texas now leads the nation in the number of schools — about 700 — using dual-language programs at the elementary level, said conference speakers. About a sixth of the almost 5 million students in Texas public and charter schools are classified as “limited English learners,” according to the Texas Education Agency. But any student can enroll in a dual-language program with the end goal of becoming bilingual and biliterate in two languages.

“Our job is to show the benefit of bilingual education,” Zavala principal Lisa Miramontes told her visitors, who included a fellow principal from Queens, administrators from Denver and teachers from Salinas, Calif. Miramontes recounted how her own mother, from the border town of Eagle Pass, had talked of being punished if she spoke Spanish.

Dual-language schools require some careful choreography, with boards full of words, poetry lessons on haiku and nursery rhymes, and science projects executed in two languages.

Dual-language schools can be one-way or two-way. Zavala started out as a two-way dual-language school, meaning students who spoke English only were paired with those who didn’t. It is now a one-way dual-language school because of the school’s demographics.

About 97 percent of Zavala’s 453 students are Latino and come from one of Dallas’ poorest neighborhoods. Its gymnasium is a nearby city recreation center, now closed for repairs. Streets are lined with simple, wood-framed homes, some painted butter yellow or lilac blue next door to some that haven’t seen paint in years and have boarded-up windows. Senior citizens volunteer at the school in a program called “Off Your Rocker.” Teachers have been known to wash school uniforms, if that sort of family support is needed.

Zavala sits in view of one of the most spectacular angles of the glitzy, glassy Dallas skyline of acquisition and aspiration.
And over the last eight years, Zavala has received the higher rating of recognized or exemplary five times, under testing procedures required by the Texas Education Agency. In 2011, it was rated acceptable.

At the convention, the endorsements for dual-language education were frequent. Key proponents were treated like celebrities as teachers crowded around researchers with doctorates to snap photos. “Nationwide, we think every one of the nation’s 16,000 school districts ought to be considering dual-language,” said Wayne Thomas, a professor emeritus at George Mason University.


Some critics of traditional or transitional bilingual programs complain that teachers lack sufficient skills in both languages, and that teachers can spend too much time speaking in Spanish so that the transition doesn’t take hold. Well-known academic researchers Thomas and Virginia Collier, who also spoke at the conference, said that after two decades of study of various forms of bilingual education, dual-language programs are superior. Achievement gaps can be closed using a solid six years of such education, they have said.

In one North Carolina study of six school districts, the researchers found that by middle school, students in two-way dual-language programs scored as high in reading and math as students in nondual-language programs at least a grade ahead of them.

Ideally, students in dual-language programs moved into 50-50 instruction by second grade. Math is taught in English because of the universality of its language, numbers, its proponents say.

One criticism that has arisen is that parents have said they’re frustrated at not being able to assist with homework. That includes not only English-speaking parents, but Latino parents who speak Spanish but don’t write it.

At the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington-based advocacy group that wants restrictions on immigration, spokesman Ira Mehlman said the group doesn’t oppose such programs as long as they are voluntary and parents can opt out if they choose.

“From our viewpoint, assimilation is a desired mission,” he said.

At the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, researcher Julie Sugarman said opting out of such programs should be an option.

“Parents should always have a choice — an informed choice. Any kind of child can do well in this kind of program, but it is really up to every individual family.”
For those coming from Spanish-speaking families, Sugarman added, “When you add English and build the language you already have, [the students] do better than just taking away their Spanish.”

Area programs

Dual-language academic programs are now being tried in the Dallas Independent School District, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Irving ISD, Lewisville ISD and McKinney ISD, and across much of Texas.

In Dallas, Rosemont Elementary School and E.D. Walker Middle School will offer the two-way dual-language program at the middle school level to the first class of sixth-graders next school year. DISD has 16 elementary schools offering such classes.

In the Carrollton-Farmers Branch district, parents recently asked trustees for a similar extension for students at Janie Stark Elementary School. The two-way program is now in two elementary schools. A third may be added in the new year, and one-way dual-language programs are now in almost all of the district’s elementary schools.

“My opinion: It will only grow as people understand the value of it,” says Bobby Burns, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD superintendent. “By far, it is the right thing to do for students. For Texas, we need to be a bilingual state.”

In the Lewisville school district, there will soon be 11 elementary schools using dual-language programs, up from three this school year.

In Irving ISD, there are students in the ninth year of a dual-language program. Next year, the program will continue at MacArthur High School, giving the district one of the oldest programs in North Texas. The district will have a total of seven schools using the program.


At the NABE convention, advocates noted that dual-language programs create pairs of students who reduce student-teacher load and create “mini-teachers” as Spanish-dominant students help English-dominant students and vice versa.

“The one who gets the most benefit is the one doing the helping,” said Richard Gómez, who with his brother Leo Gómez has created a curriculum used in about three-fourths of Texas schools.

Dual-language academic programs haven’t ignited the opposition like other bilingual education programs.

In 1998, California voters even approved a proposition that sought to eliminate many bilingual education programs. But such teaching still exists because families can ask for waivers, and dual-language academic programs have rooted there.

“Knowing two or more languages is a gift, if not a necessity, to compete with the world market,” said Rosanna Ramírez-Boyd, president of NABE and a professor at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Staff writer Wendy Hundley contributed to this report.

Q&A: Learning in two languages

What is two-way dual-language immersion?

Two-way dual-language programs provide instruction for native English speakers and native speakers of another language, with the primary goal of high academic achievement. Other benefits are language development and cross-cultural understanding.

Is it simply a language class?

No. Academic subjects are taught to all students in both English and a partner language, usually Spanish. Math is an exception.

Are dual-language programs only for children who are learning the second language of English?

No. Student populations are balanced, with about 50 percent native English speakers and 50 percent native speakers of the partner language.

What are the benefits of early language learning?

Students of foreign languages score higher on standardized tests, conducted in English. The College Board has found students with an average of four or more years of foreign language study scored higher on the verbal section of the SAT than those who had studied four or more years in any other subject area. Math scores for individuals with four or more years of foreign language study were the same as average scores of those who studied four years of mathematics.

SOURCE: Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C.

Article Source: Dianne Solís – The Dallas Morning News

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child...

This book is an excellent and easy to read step-by-step guide for anyone interested in raising children with a second (or multiple) language. It is an invaluable tool for parents and teachers alike.

The guide is exceptionally rich in personal narratives and practical advices based on research results and Steiner’s personal experience as a mother and pediatrician who raises her own children multilingual. The author demystifies bilingualism and encourages parents to participate in second language education at any child age.

If parents do not speak a second language, she suggests for example to incorporate the language experience of the babysitter or others. She inspires to introduce world languages to young and older children as well as to their parents (e.g. to the husband who is not fluent in his wife’s first language). One very important point that the author makes is that language is a tool serving the communication.

Having been raised monolingual by my parents in a non-English speaking country, I was introduced to world languages during middle and high school, but at that time I never really used the languages actively, mostly in fear to say something wrong and make mistakes (but still it helped having this basis). After having come to the U.S. at an “older age”, I needed to communicate in English which I did not speak or understand fluently. At the same time, I had to raise my children in-between languages.

Steiner encourages me that it is perfectly normal when my children (or I) sometimes for example mix a foreign, primary language word into their (or my) dialogue, not because we are “confused”, but because that is an easier way of communication and part of a learning process.

Thank you, Dr. Steiner, for all your great realistic recommendations.

Panel of Language Experts...

Little Pim Panel of Language Experts

How to Run a Successful Home Daycare...

Running a home daycare can enable you to stay home with your own children, and provide a good income while you do it.

Planning ahead, and using great tools will assist you in being more successful financially, and will leave you with a waiting list of people wanting your services.


1. Contact your state daycare licensor.

Check online for where to call. In NYS, we contact the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. The licensor will set up an appointment to come to your house, and will give you recommendations, and an application to license your daycare.

2. There are lots and lots (and lots!) of things on the checklist that the licensor will check for when he inspects your home to complete the licensing requirements.

Make an extensive checklist, and check off and date each item as you complete it. Some things, like outlet covers, need two check boxes, as you will need to check the morning of the inspection to make sure that your children (or spouse) didn’t fail to put them back after using an outlet.

3. Find good daycare software.

The right software for your needs is like having TWO assistants in your daycare. I am most familiar with Minute Menu Kids Pro Software, from Redleaf Press, and it did everything from track my attendance, to keeping meal counts for CACFP food reimbursement. At the end of the year, it also printed really nice tax records for my parents, making it easier for them to claim their childcare credit on income tax returns.

4. As much as possible, separate your family from your business.

It’s not fair to your children to make them share all of their toys with your daycare. As much as possible, your children should have an area of your home where they can keep toys that are off limits to the daycare, and are “put away” during daycare hours.

Also, it is easier to keep track of food costs, paper towels, etc, if you have a separate cabinet or shelves for daycare supplies.
I rented a duplex, and had the daycare in one apartment and the daycare in the other, making it possible to have separate kitchens, playrooms, etc. It also made it easier for my children to get away from the group when they wanted to.

5. Make contracts, or buy them online.

Make contracts with your daycare parents, setting forth your expectations, and making it clear what services you will provide. Some providers state in their contracts that they require four weeks notice before withdrawing, or that some holidays are paid, and the parent is still responsible for a full week’s rate. If you are going to have a partner, or an assistant, or substitutes, or all of the above, you should also draw up a contract between the two of you, ESPECIALLY if you are friends or relatives. This provides the opportunity for you to protect yourselves and each other from any kind of misunderstandings about what the responsibilities are, and reduces the chances of misunderstandings.

6. Determine your rates.

I determined my rates by going to the website for the Office of Children and Family Services, and I used their daycare subsidy rates, as I planned on accepting children who received daycare subsidy.

7. Invest yourself in the children, and be creative!

We thought of fabulous things to do with the kids. Once in awhile, we took the daycare kids to the drive-in movies. The parents paid for their children, and they got a free night off without having to pay the baby-sitter. We took pictures and made iron-on t-shirts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that said “World’s Best Father”, etc. We were creative and got free donations of prom gowns, dress-up clothes, blank eye-glasses from the optical (clear glass in the lens) and had an extensive dress-up area.

8. Get volunteer helpers for your daycare from local high school (parenting classes) or local community college (early childhood education students).

The students often get educational credit for helping you, and you get a free volunteer that has the potential to become a future assistant or substitute!

9. Educate, educate, educate! Take every class that you can!

In NYS, EIP, the Educational Incentive Program, offers funding to pay for daycare education. I was able to take online classes, and classes through the mail to earn training hours towards my licensing requirements.

10. Give discounts!!

Offer a discount to parents who pre-pay. If you pay in advance, you pay monthly for four weeks (getting the fifth week free). The parents end up getting a free month at the end of the year, and you have the advantage of being paid ahead of time for care, and you get paid whether the kids come or not, and are able to use that income to purchase food, supplies,etc. Give discounts for siblings…10% for second child, 15% for third child, etc.

11. Sign up for CACFP food reimbursement program.

In my daycare, I averaged between $400-$500 per month in reimbursement from the government for food. My own children were also included in the meal counts, and that did a LOT for helping my food budget!!

CACFP offers a LOT of help with providing good nutrition, etc.

12. Ask your licensor about child care networks in your area.

In my county, the childcare network offered assistance with safety items for my daycare, including baby swings, high chairs, pack-n-plays, baby gates, fire extinguishers, nap mats, first aid kits, gloves.