Friday, 4 April 2014

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How to Improve the Danish Language Level of Your Kids?


The challenges of a trilingual family is huge. The effort it takes to nurture three languages in a normal child requires courage, determination, strategizing, risk management and a lot of time and commitment and an unwavering faith in God... unless your child is a language genius.

It takes courage, because I sometimes wonder if my decision may cause J to end up being half-past-six with all three languages. Yet, fearful as I am and treading this untrolden path, I am not able and unwilling to give up on any of the languages - Chinese, English and Danish. They are all part of J's cultural heritage. He needs all three languages to navigate effectively among his countrymen. And I consider his countrymen both Danes and Singaporeans.

We will walk on... that is one of the reasons why I chose to go part-time. Everyday, we have to revise 3 languages, although I must admit I don't get to  do it everyday. Alas, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

On Saturdays, a total of 3 hours are devoted to Chinese class, excluding homework.

On Sundays, a total of 2 hours are devoted to English via international church.

On Thursdays, it is either Danish theatre, volunteering at the Senior centre with the Chinese old people or playdates with Danish kids.

To be fair, J's Danish so far is on part with the Danish kids (and at the last assessment on the higher end of the scale). He doesn't need extra classes offered to other immigrant kids. But I am not sitting on my laurels. Here are a few ideas how to enhance the Danish language of your child:

1. Bring your child to Danish children's theatre

Since a toddler of 1.5 year old, the Danish teachers told us that J really loves theatre. I didn't capitalize on that by bringing him to theatre, because I don't like theatre.

However, recently my Singaporean friend, A, in Copenhagen taught me that one of the ways to enhance the command the Danish language is to expose your child to theatre. She and her hubby love to watch plays. But my SO and I do not. And I am totally theatre illiterate. For me to research on theatre and plays would be the most boring things I have to do. So, she did all the research, and I just tag along. I am really thankful for her generosity.

So, every other Thursday on my day off, we will bring our kids to the children Danish theatres. It does cost money - 125 DKK for adult and 55 DKK for children.

Here are some links if you are cross-cultural families like us:

http://www.riddersalen.dk/default.asp?side=2&id=284

http://www.zangenbergsteater.dk/?side=3

Kudos to my friend A and her daugher S. The division of labour to nurture the language development of our children!

If money may be an issue, below are three other ideas which do not cost any money.

3 October 2014 - Engelsbørne


2. Danish churches children's activities

Many Danish churches have excellent and free programs for children. Here is the website of a Danish church children's program near to where we live:

http://sorgenfrikirke.dk/aktiviteter/boerneliv-i-kirken/nyhedsbrevet-boern-i-sorgenfri-kirke/

3. Danish libaries for children

The Danish libraries have excellent and free programs for children too. Here is one from the library near our place:

https://www.lyngbybib.dk/boernearrangementer

4. Have playdates with Danish kids

Every third Thursday, when we are not volunteering at the Senior centre for the Chinese and Danish old folks in Denmark, and when we are not going to theatres, I will arrange playdates for J with his classmates.

It is actually not so hard, and does not demand so much of my time. You just let them play, while you prepare dinner for the family. Of course, it will take a bit of your time with supervision.

With prayers and trust in God, we will walk on this cross-cultural journey together that will be part of our lives for eternity... We are also very thankful and feel very blessed that we are able to take our kids to Danish theatre on Thursdays.

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