Bilingual Basics

by Dana Smith Bader
Hits: 49

I learned a second language the hard way, and I still only consider myself fluent in English.  Having lived in the Middle East for most of my life, this is a real shame.  Although Arabic was not required in UAE schools when I was young, I had plenty of Arab friends and exposure to Arabic.  Therefore, I should know more Arabic than I do today.  However, my parents had me take two years of Arabic, but then they decided that I needed to take French for the rest of my school years.  I can still read and write French and conjugate verbs like nobody’s business, but my conversation is limited by my rare usage of the language.  As for Arabic, because I am married to an Arab, I understand quite a lot of spoken Arabic, and I can read and write very slowly.  However, I would not consider myself fluent in either Arabic or French, and I regret not having a second or third language.

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Ready, Set, Write!

by Dana Smith Bader
Hits: 60

Big school in the UAE has big admission requirements.  In many schools, children entering KG1 are expected to know their colors, shapes, numbers and quantities, initial phonics sounds, and how to write their names.  That’s a tall order considering the fact that children begin KG1 at 4 years of age in the UAE.  It’s also a bit much to ask for considering that the most popular pre-school curriculum in the UAE, the EYFS curriculum is designed for children up to 5 years of age, and it does not expect children to have full writing readiness until after the age of 5 or 6 years.  Nevertheless, pre-schools across the UAE work tirelessly to develop pre-writing skills in children to ensure they are ready for big school when the time comes.  However, pre-writing skills are still a long way from writing, and parents need to understand the difference.

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Follow the Leader

by Dana Smith Bader
Hits: 91
As soon as children enter pre-school and move on to big school, they are expected to listen and follow directions.  Sit down. Sit straight. Stand up, Line up. Walk straight. Take turns.  Share toys.  Speak up.  Listen. No jumping. No running. No snatching. No yelling. No fighting. No biting. No hitting. Play together. Sing loudly. Tidy up. Wash your hands. . . The list of directions is endless and sometimes overwhelming for children.  According to research, by 24 months most children can follow two- and three-word directions, but that is mostly with constant exposure to clear, simple directions related to the child’s known environment.  Therefore, first teaching your child to listen and, second, to follow directions is a process that requires some guidance and quite a bit of patience.
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