A weekly ‘rhyme time’ session has been a popular attraction at Bradley Stoke Library for a number of years now, but a recent initiative has seen the concept given a new twist – with the introduction of a Spanish language variant!
The new weekly Spanish Rhyme Time has been started by local mums Adele Innes and Adriana Moreno with the aim of helping youngsters learn Spanish through singing fun children’s songs. It is not a Spanish lesson as such, but the intention is that children will pick up the language through repetition.
Adele, who is from Scotland, has studied several languages and learnt Spanish whilst living in her husband’s home country of Ecuador, while Adriana hails from Columbia.
Before moving to Bradley Stoke, Adele used to take her children to a Spanish Rhyme time in London, which she says they thoroughly enjoyed.
Adele told the Journal:
“I would have started this group as soon as we moved here two years ago, but I was waiting to find a native speaker who wanted to run it with me. The group aims to create community amongst local Spanish speakers and families with ancestral links to the language. It also looks to support children who are taught Spanish at school and welcomes any child who would like to be (or whose parents would like them to be) exposed to Spanish.”
The group provides the opportunity for children and their parents to enjoy Spanish children’s songs and stories with both fluent Spanish speakers and those who are just starting out.
Adele says the group can be of encouragement to children “at any stage of their journey with Spanish”.
Spanish Rhyme Time is intended for babies, toddlers and school children up to Year 2. “Although babies can’t sing, they can still enjoy the songs and will know them all by the time they do learn to speak,” explains Adele.
At present, there are around 15 children who attended the session. Four or five Spanish-speaking families are there every week, along with a few English-speaking families. Often, a couple of families who just happen to be in the library when the session starts will join in too!
Explaining the format of the sessions, Adele says:
“We start with a lovely song which says ‘hello’ to each child by name and adds the typical greeting ‘Hola, como estas?’ (Hello, how are you?). We then sing some songs while seated and some songs standing up. Most songs have actions. Each week someone reads a story about a letter of the alphabet which helps us learn the Spanish alphabet. We have just started to learn a tongue twister in Spanish too.”
“Although I don’t claim to be an amazing singer (like a certain famous namesake!), I do love singing and languages, and thoroughly enjoy leading the Spanish Rhyme Time. I’m sure that children will pick up lots of Spanish through attending the sessions frequently.”
Steven, a local dad who brings his children Oliver and Amelia to the sessions says: “It’s a great way to introduce the language in a fun environment, which is led by fluent Spanish speakers who kindly donate their time.”
Another parent, Marta, who is Spanish and brings 6-year-old Miriam, adds: “I want my daughter to continue to have contact with Spanish and not forget the typical children’s songs we sing in Spain”
Spanish Rhyme Time takes place on Thursdays, during term-time only, starting at 4.15pm. The sessions last around half-an-hour.
To find out more, visit the ‘BS Spanish Rhyme Time’ page on Facebook.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 38). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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