Being an Italian girl from New York City, I was so delighted when I found out San Diego has a LITTLE ITALY! Bellissimo …. As a mom, the first thing I did was look into immersing my kids into the Italian language. I took Italian all through my schooling years and feel its important my children do the same. I was so happy when I saw the Italian American Academy does all this and more.
I have had this conversation so many times with Bobby. He too feels it’s essential to get the kids learning another language while they are young. While Bobby attended Dental School at NYU, he was the only person who wasn’t bilingual. He recalls being quite disappointed he never learned another language. It’s a progressive, competitive world and giving our kids a fair chance at a global marketplace is what we are striving for. There are 6500 languages spoken in our world. I choose Italian for my children because of my heritage and because I think it’s the most beautiful language I have ever heard.
Here is a great chart on why it pays to be bilingual.
Some of the benefits of learning a language young are as follows
- the ability to learn additional languages more easily
- greater intercultural appreciation and sensitivity
- an expanded world view
- a competitive edge in the future
Roman, my 2 year old started with a Mommy and Me class. This class is located in the heart of Little Italy at The Italian Cultural Center. It consists of a small group of children, their parents, a teacher and an assistant teacher. This experience has been exceptional for both Roman and I. They seem to pick teachers who are native Italian speakers and really know how to get the children interacting, plus the small class size really helps with individual needs.
The Mommy and Me class teaches children Italian by hearing it. This class is the closest thing you are going to get if you want a true Italian language experience. The children play games, listen to stories, do crafts, dance and sing, all in Italian. One thing I love about the program is that the teachers email the parents the words, and songs we learned in class so we could reinforce them at home. Learning a second language at an early age is something both my husband and I wish we were exposed to. We are grateful we are giving this gift to our small tribe.
I have to admit it’s been quite adorable watching Roman count in Italian, respond to the teacher in Italian and really start to understand this beautiful language. Another thing I like to do to reinforce Italian at home is I have been translating his books in Italian so I have the words at hand and he hears both the English and the Italian.
For the older children at home both 6 and 7 they attend a beginning Italian class at the JCC in La Jolla, which is also run by the Italian Cultural Center. They are truly embracing the language and it helped my older two that I hired an Italian teacher to come to our house twice a week during the summer months to give the children lessens together. It’s a great idea if you could find a teacher in need of an extra job. This has been an enjoyable immersion experience for my three and I plan on continuing these classes with the Italian American Academy for many years to come.
To learn more about this program click here.
Here are some of the songs the kids sing each day.