- por favor ("bor pabor")
- muy bien
- buenos dias
- and he can also count to ten!
Little children are natually attuned to aquiring language skills, and beyond the obvious benefits of simply being bilingual there is also a lot of evidence that early secondary language learning helps prime kids for better academic performance later. Not that it's all about the academic benefits - there's also a lot of fun to be had! The kids sing songs, play, eat snacks, play outside on the playground, paint pictures, and make whole hosts of things out of paper plates, glue and construction paper. (That's an octopus he's holding in the picture.)
Even more exciting than seeing Conan learning spanish, however, has been the improvement in some of his behaviors. Prior to starting him at the preschool, mealtimes were a constant struggle for us. Conan didn't like to sit still and eat, and when he would sit at the table he would fidget and play with his food, often knocking over his beverage and/or dropping food on the floor "accidentally". At the school they make the kids all sit down together for snacks and meals, and they all have to be seated before the food is given out. Then they have to wait until everyone has been served before they start to eat. After just a few weeks, Conan started announcing proudly "I gonna sit at the table the WHOLE time!" when we'd sit down for a meal, and it just keeps getting better. He now eats his food calmly, says please when he wants more, and asks to get down when he's done. Most shocking of all, he often says "Thank you for making dinner, Mama!" without any prompting.
He also has gotten better about taking turns, made more progress in potty training, learned to put on and take off his own shoes, and generally learned a lot about social interactions. He scolds me for not drinking up all my water, because "if you don't drink it, that's wasting it" and councils himself "you get what you get, and you don't throw a fit" when we're out of his first choice of popsicle flavor. He's proud to tell us fun facts that he has learned at school, such as "fish breathe water" and "big trees grow from little seeds."
He still frequently cries when he's dropped off in the morning on school days, but the teachers assure us that he stops after just a few minutes. He often tells me in the morning that he's not going to have ANY fun, but then when I pick him up he tells me that I was right, he did have fun. Some days he doesn't want to leave, or wants to go back again after we get home. All this is perfectly natural, but that doesn't mean I won't be releived when he is consistantly cheerful about getting dropped off!
It's a little bit of a struggle for me to come to grips with the fact that my little baby is grown up enough for preschool, but overall I'm really thrilled with how well he's doing. He can't stay a baby forever, and I'm glad we've found such a great preschool program for him.