Grocery Shopping – Learning Through Daily Routines

Grocery shopping is a learning ground for teaching children about their environment, what kinds of food they eat, choices of food, about mathematics and compromising and taking risks such as tasting new foods. Before going on your shopping trip make sure to bring the children’s journals and some colored
pencils and a camera to document in pictures for their child portfolios. Some of the children will enjoy carrying the journals around and document what they see and observe. You could ask them some prompting questions after their trip such as “what was your favorite part of the trip?”, “which was your favorite green fruit or vegetable?” or “how was the hummus you tried at the store? Did you like it? What did you think of it?” “Some of you watched the scale as we weighed bananas, what happens to the arrow when we added a banana to the scale?” Questions like these will stimulate and provoke the children’s memories and create meaningful context around their experience at the grocery store. My students keep asking to go to the grocery store. They not only learned a ton but also enjoyed it very much! As you can see in our video, the children bought groceries, bought a bouquet of flowers for our “grandmas and grandpa’s” at the senior living and then even made a snack together! See the glee in their eyes, this is worth all the work involved!



Making Tamales – Introducing New Foods

Many families have their home cooking traditions and in many Latino homes, the making of tamales is a very special time. It’s a time to gather, chat, bond, and build tradition. Young ones learn from others in the family, connecting generations at one table. As a teacher, exposing my students to experience
this wonderful tradition has been a mission. My students have learned so much from these lessons. To top it off they feel accomplished, included, and encouraged to continue with learning new tasks and sequence of steps. They also learn to try foods that they are not exposed to.

Find a favorite recipe for tamales and set up on a large table. It's usually best that the teacher makes the fillings and masa in advance without too much help from the kids, but assembly time is totally about the kids. Delegating some tasks is a good way to establish jobs. Assembly line style has worked for me in every instance. A couple students can be in charge of spooning/spreading masa into the cornhusks and others adding the filling into the individual tamales and some to fold them.

I had the experience with my 3-5 year olds and the older ones would actually help the younger ones. Children are sometimes eager to put their leadership skills to use and what a better way than them teaching the younger ones. Participation of each child makes this experience memorable and exciting. Eating their hard work is even more exciting! Check out some pictures.



Foreign Travel and New Languages


Learning a second language as a child has many undeniable benefits but when traveling with your little one to foreign countries, it’s crucial to be able to move around. Before traveling, or as soon as you know, set time aside and place on your calendar a specific time to practice. When learning with your children, please keep in mind that they like games. A game of bingo, google translate and some good bilingual books are a good start for them. Print out phrases from the internet, make flash cards, and use pictures to match the phrase. Practice common phrases in the car, on the way to anywhere, and during your family walks around the block. Here is a link with games that you may use for your language learning.

Trip Savvy has 6 different ways to learn a second language before travel. They recommend some apps like Duolingo, which is one my family is very familiar with. They have had good results with it, as long as they’ve stayed consistent. Other recommended programs are Pimsleur and BBC Language. If you
are one to learn more from a classroom setting, take a class at your local technical college. They have more opportunities to engage, interact and practice your new skills. You can then turn around and teach what you’ve learned to your children.

Taking on a new language takes effort, so start as soon as you know where you’ll be traveling to. It also requires consistency so make sure to put learning time on the calendar!