More Jump for (Jo)E(y)

Unfortunately, our native nanny’s disappeared completely so I decided to look for another. In vain. I haven’t been able to find anyone. This is the reason why I decided to go back to a Helen Doron course. E. needs a regular input and, although it’s not a native input, at the moment this is the best option we have.

In April 2017, she started the More Jump with Joey course, which she enjoys to a great extent.

Here are the details of the course:
(Here I have to emphasise that I’m NOT in any business relations with the school so this blog post is not an ad. This is only my personal experience.)

Timing:

Once a week (though Cds have to be listened to twice a day, which, honestly, we don’t do. We watch the videos once or twice a week)

School:
(Nyugati téri Helen Doron English Language School – the link takes you their facebook page)

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entrance

 

The Shcool looks of high standard. There’s a little playroom right by the entrance where children or siblings can play while waiting for the lesson to start. They can also cool off here after the lesson.

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playroom
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waiting area

There are 2 rooms (a bigger and a smaller) for the lessons. They’re really well-equipped with teaching materials, games and toys that help playful learning. There’s always some kind of refreshment (lemonade, tea etc.) for anybody who visits the school. The walls are nicely decorated with colourful English stuff, like motivational quotes, kids’ drawings, course materials and posters. It’s colourful and engaging (a little TOO engaging for my E. who could study these posters for hours if I let her :D)

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I have to mention here that the school created a nest with all the “chicks” (i.e. children) in it and on the surrounding branches. With this project the school won NatGeo subscription. I can’t wait to read it in the waiting area.

Teacher:

Well, we’ve known Zs. since the start of our Helen Doron Early English adventure. She was the one who we started with and after a little break we start again with. She loves kids, she’s cheerful and dedicated to teaching kids, gives motivating and versatile lessons during which all senses of the kids are involved. Kids have fun in English and strictly in English with her. What else could I ask for? (Perhaps a native nanny, pleeeeease)

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Zs. with Ella Doron

 

We’re very lucky with our HD teachers. Z., Baby Sis’s teacher, is very similar to Zs. (not just their initials 😉 ) Z. teaches with the same techniques, devotion and love for little children just as Zs. The “WOW” factor is always present at their lessons.

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Z & Zs

Group:

The maximum size of the group is 8, but they are just 7. Five girls and two boys. This proportion is absolutely great for E. as she is the phase of not fancying boys. (Oh, my… it’ll change too soon…) All the kids are around her age (5+). The kids in E.’s group have been going to HD lesson for quite a while. Scarcely do they speak Hungarian among themselves.

Teaching material:

First reaction: finally a useful backpack. Seriously, backpacks in the earlier packages were totally useless.

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The teaching material targets children aged 7-9. The More Jump with Joey package contains 4 workbooks (sorry! MAGICAL workbooks). During this very course they are covering 1 workbook within 3 months’ time. Animated videos are available on the DVD. 4 Cds are also included in the package (not seen in the pic above) with the stories and conversations. I wish there would be a Cd with the songs only so we could listen to them in the car.

Above I’ve highlighted the magical workbooks. There’s a special app that can be downloaded via Google Play Store to your android phone or tablet (via iTunes for Apple devices). If you place your device over the workbook pages signed with the magic wand the characters come to life.
Watch a video about this so-called augmented reality that makes real fun for the kids to (re)do the activities.

As for the content, there’s a lot of revision of the earlier materials, which are expanded during the course (songs like Hey diddle, diddle, or vocabulary of food and furniture etc). The stories have a lot of references of traditional English rhymes, songs and stories. Kangi, the kangaroo mother is a trouble-shooter, who comes whenever the kids are in trouble or need a mediator in conflicts. Just like the previous courses, More Jump with Joey includes plenty of other real life skills apart from learning the English language, such as co-operation and team work, expressing and handling feelings, problem solving etc.

The only thing I miss is that I myself cannot be there at the lessons. I play quite a lot with the magic wand and watch the videos with E.  whenever I have the time but the lessons are full of enjoyable games and activities. Fortunately, Baby L. still needs me at her lessons where I can have some fun, too 😀

A bit of Earth Day gardening

Before our American native nanny left Hungary we had a flower planting last session with her. Although I wanted to do this activity on Earth Day, the weather did not favour us so we had to postpone it for a few weeks.

I bought the plants at a flower market that is close to our place: 6 flowers and  a green plant:


Verbena
Snapdragon
Marigold
Periwinkle
Petunia
Dakota Sunspot
White-edged Swedish Ivy (a kind of mosquito repellent with leaves that has special smell if you rub it, no flower though)

 

 

You can download the flower picture here. (Buttercup is also included as E. found one in a field and we needed to check what it was). The names are added both in Hungarian and in English.

 

What you need:

  • flowers/plants of your choice
  • flower pots
  • soil (we had 5 kg for 7 plants)
  • shovels
  • watering can with water
How we did it:
Best to do it in the garden or on the balcony but the weather has been very windy (still is) so I put down an old wax tablecloth on the floor and we did the planting on it indoors. In this way we did not dirt the whole living-room and it was relatively easier to clean up.
E. doesn’t really like to dirt her hands. I try to come up with ideas when she needs to do so in a fun way so she can overcome this bad feeling of dirty hands.
She touched the soil/dirt with great hesitation, though.
We filled up half of a pot with dirt.
She took the plants out of its small pot and pinched off some ends of its roots (it was L.’s advice that she’d learnt from her mom)

 

Then, she placed the plant into the bigger pot in the new soil after having created a little hole in the middle and added more dirt on top of the roots.
We have some nice blue buckets which can be hung on our balcony so the final step was that E. put the pot in the bucket.
When we were ready with all the plants she took them all out onto the balcony and hung them up.

 

Let’s not forget about watering the plants.

For a few days she wanted to go out and water them, but now it’s been a week she last saw her plants. I need to water them, but it’s true that a lot has been going on recently because of her birthday. Not to mention the fact that this strong wind we’ve had nowadays has destroyed the flowers and to be honest they are far from nice at the very moment. I can only hope a little later they’ll revive when the weather gets better and E. will show some more interest in them.

All in all, it was great fun, a nice way to have one of our last sessions with our nanny, L. I admit it was quite messy, but E. enjoyed it and learnt a lot about planting, getting your hands dirty, decorating our home and taking care of a living creature.

Her English vocabulary expanded: she learnt quite many synonyms like shoots/sprouts, spade/shovel, throw away/dump, soil/dirt. (For the Hungarian readers: when she told Daddy about our planting project she said: .” …aztán koszt raktunk a cserépbe”)

What gardening project do you do with your kids in the spring? I’m looking forward to your answers in the comment section so we can do something new next year.

Baby sister’s 3 months old – beware: a long post

Time flies with 2 kids. L. is already 3 months old and loads have been going on. In this post I’ll try to focus on her development and what I do with her in English though it’ll be hard.

First of all, some parametres:

She is 57 cms “tall”, 5.23 kgs. Her eyes are still blue. Her hair is light brown (showing tinges of ginger) and getting longer in the back and started to grow in the front. She only sleeps on Mommy or Daddy, or in the sling. She can’t push herself up while on her tummy but can lift and turn her head nicely. She’s got her first 2 shots at the age of 2 months. She gurgles and babbles a lot. She’s smiley if her tummy is full, on the changing table or when she can look around. Though she’s got a stomach ache quite often mostly in the evenings then she cries desperately. She’s breastfed and I can see white lines on her lower gum so the crying might be caused by the staring of her teething.

English time:

The routine is the same as it was with E. I just started it earlier (at her birth) with L. Whenever we are just the two of us I speak English to her. I’ve already introduced the little song we always sing with E. before changing languages (showing the Makaton signs to L. as well):

Hello, hello how are you?
Hello, hello, it’s good to see you.
I say hello, I’m happy that you came

I say hello, please tell me, please tell me, please tell me your name
Mommy (pointing at me)
L. (pointing at her)

(This song is -or rather used to be- the theme song of a BBC series Something Special. On the link you can listen to the new version of it. But you can use any song of your choice if you want to signal the beginning or the end of the language usage)

So what we do in English:


1. Lullabies

It seems I sing continuously. Whenever I try to rock L. to sleep I sing the following lullabies:

Rock-a-by baby

Hush little baby

Go to sleep lullabies (Go to sleep, Moonlight so sweet and pale, Golden slumbers)


(This last one I used to sing to E. ALL THE TIME. You can check out a less detailed post about E.’s first 6 months)
2. Changing table fun:

When I need to change L.’s nappy or clothes (and we are in English) I start with this rhyme:

…. (child’ name) ‘s got a dirty nappy.
What shall we do? What shall we do?

Clean is up, clean it up
For Mommy, and for you.

When her legs are free from clothes I make her little feet march:

Oh, the grand old Duke of York

(I march with her feet) Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of (Lift her feet up) the hill
and he marched them down again. (Put her feet down)
And when they were up they were up. (Lift her feet up)
And when they were down they were down. (Put her feet down)
And when they were only half way up, (Wiggle her legs)
They were neither up nor down.
(When I sing UP I lift her feet up, and when I sing down I put her feet down)
I go through her body parts with this song from the BBC series Something Special- Baby episode (The song starts at 4.03 mins in the video but it’s worth watching the whole episode)

Two little eyes that open and close
Right in the middle a little nose
Two little ears on either side
one little mouth that opens wide

That’s baby (2x)

Two little legs that kick and wiggle
Two little feet that like a tickle
Two little arms that stretch up high
Two little hand that wave goodbye

That’s baby (2x)

The other thing she likes is tickling under her chin (or rather double chin *grin*). I chant these two rhymes:

Round and round the garden (stroking her tummy in a circle)
Like a Teddy Bear (showing the teddy bear sign)
One step, two steps (walking my fingers on her tummy)
Tickle you under there (tickle her under the chin)

Another variation can be you do the circling in the palm, the walking movement up the arm and tickle the armpit in the end


Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man (patting the tummy)
Bake me a cake as fast as you can (patting faster)
Pat it and prick it and mark it with B (patting/rolling movements on tummy, forming a B with fingers)
Put it in the oven for baby and me. (2 palms up as if putting a tray in the oven, when saying BABY I tickle her tummy)
If you want to sing a tune here it is.

And finally 2 finger plays:

1. This little piggy went to market
This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed at home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
And this llittle piggy cried wee wee wee wee wee all the way home

Have a look at a video of This little piggy by Patty Shukla:


2. Two little dickie birds sitting on the wall
Two little dickie birds sitting on a wall
One named Peter the other named Paul
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul
Come back Peter, come back Paul.

Here is a video about what to do with your fingers:

3. Bath-time
As for bath-time I have a great helper apart from Daddy and that is L.’s big sister, E. She helps taking off L.’s clothes, 

prepares what we can put on her afterwards, checks and throws the nappy into the bin, helps with the splashing too 🙂
Great practice for E. and L. hears not only me but her big sister talk in English. Sometimes we play the changing table games together again before bath-time.
One day E. sang a song for her little sister while I was busy with something and Daddy was preparing E.’s bath (that’s the noise in the background)
—–Oh, no! I can’t find the video anywhere 😦 As soon as I find it I’ll put it on——–
They’re just too cute.
—– 23/07/2016 I found the video 😀 ——-
4. Books
Baby books, of course. Black and white board books, cloth books or touch and feely books. 
Sometimes she just looks at the books while in the playpen/on the play mat and at other times I describe what she sees or tells her a story around the characters on the pages.  I’m working on a short list of useful and fun baby books you can read about in the next post.

5. Baby’s Best Start
When L. has some tummy time or just looking around in her playpen I put on Baby’s Best Start Helen Doron CD about once a day. I’m not showing to her anything (no pictures, no soft toys, nothing) she just getting familiar with the music. I’m planning to start the course with L. soon, maybe September. (And I think we should restart with E. as well.)

Snowdrop craft with our new native nanny

Spring has arrived and brought us a new nanny, L. from California. Unfortunately, how long she’ll stay is uncertain, but even a few months will do. Here is a fun craft activity they did together.

I found this snowdrop idea on pinterest:

http://krokotak.com/2015/02/three-ideas-with-eye-make-up-remover-pads/

While E. was in the nursery I prepared the following:

The quality of the pictures are so poor… sorry.

  • 15-16 cotton pads cut-outs
  • blue construction paper
  • green construction paper (the leaf cut-outs)
  • glue
  • green markers
L, our new nanny came at 5 and they immediately sat down to make the snowdrops excitedly. I made an example for them to follow to make the whole process easier.

 They started with drawing the stems and gluing the leaves.

They also coloured the snowdrops’ top green:

 Some cutting and glueing:

“I need more snowdrops”


Adding some more snowdrops:

We displayed them on the living room door:

Of course, this wasn’t their first occasion to meet but the 3rd or 4th. However, E. and L. hit it off at the very beginning. E. needed time to realise L. doesn’t understand when she mixes some Hungarian in her talks. I’m glad to say E. uses less and less Hungarian when she speaks English, and not only when our new nanny is around. Thanks, L! We’ve really needed the native input.
If you liked this flower craft have a look at other flower projects we’ve had:

Flower flashcards
Colour changing flower experiment
Flowers made out of crepe paper and bottle tops

Starting the nursery – Mini Klub

E. started nursery in September (at the age of 27 months), but I haven’t had the time to finish a review on this issue. Here it comes:

Hello, this is my first day in nursery

We decided on a private nursery as opposed to a state one because of our bilingual journey. This option puts a greater financial burden on our family in the long run but hopefully it’ll be worth it.

Mini Klub is a bilingual nursery. There are two nursery teachers who speak Hungarian to the kids and one who speaks English only all day long. Although the English speaking nursery teacher is a native Hungarian, we are lucky enough, as her English is on a high level and her pronunciation is native-like. She is also a dedicated teacher and prepares a lot to entertain and “teach” the kids English.

We first met her (Ms. B.) in August before the official start when every week in the afternoon we visited the nursery’s playground. E. could meet all the children and nursery teachers.

Ms. B. played with E. in the sand pit and I also had a chance to chat with her a little about the routines and English usage in the nursery. I made it clear to her that the reason why we come to this nursery is because of E.’s bilingualism.

After almost three months now, Ms. B. hasn’t been talking to E. in Hungarian at all, although in some emergency situations Ms. B. needs to talk in Hungarian to other kids. Another relevant point is E. likes her a lot. (So much that in October we had several evenings when I had to play Ms. B.’s role during bath time at home.)

On the first official nursery day they hit it off. (sorry about the quality of the photos, most of them were taken secretly)

Exploring the nursery garden with Ms B.

The first few days and weeks went without any problem. I guess I was more worried and nervous about the transition than she was. Evidently, she enjoys playing there, loves the teachers and some of the kids, too.

On the first day with Ms. L. – 

Of course, we couldn’t avoid the initial illnesses, which gave me more possibility to increase the English time (at home).

Look, Daddy this is my box. My sign’s on it.

There are quite a lot of educational activities every single day (crafts, learning shapes, colours, rhymes and songs, circle games, story time etc.) on the basis of the Montessori Method that keep them busy and occupied.

Weekly routine:

Every day:

  • doing exercise
  • developing movements
Monday:
  • shapes, colours
  • feeling by touching
  • concentration
  • improving perceptibility
  • numbers 1-10
Tuesday:
  • communication
  • rhymes and story telling
  • learning verses and poems
Wednesday
  • circle games
  • songs
  • auditory development
  • developing rhythm and a sense of music

Thursday

  • fine motor skills
  • arts and crafts
  • modelling clay, painting, gluing, threading etc.

 Friday

  • love of nature
  • exploring our environment
  • plants and animals
Until the end of October every Tuesday the kids went pony-riding in the other premises of the nursery (Duna Ovi). From the middle of November (next week) they are starting ice-skating. E. just can’t wait. I hope she’ll like it. I’m not sure if she has understood what ice-skating means exactly.
The nursery also has a daily routine:
7.30-8.45 arrivals, free play time
8.45-9.00 doing exercise
9.00-9.05 changing nappies or toilet time
9.05-9.30 breakfast, teeth brushing
9.30-10.15 educational sessions (20 mins in English, 20 mins in Hungarian)
10.15-10.30 snack time (fruit, vegetables)
10.30-11.30 playtime in the playground (depending on weather conditions)
11.30-11.40 toilet time
11.40-12.15 lunch time
12.15-14.30 quiet time, sleepy time
14.30-15.15 waking up period, snack time
15.15-15.45 educational session (15 mins in English, 15 mins in Hungarian)
15.45 – free play time, departure

Food: healthy and varied (Daddy asked me one day looking at E.’s weekly menu  if he himself could sign up for lunch at the nursery 😉 – we receive the menu every week. 
Educational sessions:
  • crafts
Look, that’s my horse
  • preparing for special occasions like grape harvest festival, Halloween, Santa Claus day (Dec 6) or Christmas
  • I have a video about the educational session in English (and in Hungarian), but E. was ill and didn’t take part. What’s more, I should ask the nursery for permission to put the video up on my blog. So it might come later on.
—–o—–o—–o——o——o——-o—— Permission received—-o—–o



Play time – if it doesn’t rain cats and dogs they go out to the playground for at least an hour in the morning and another hour in the afternoon.

All in all, I am more than satisfied with this nursery and the English language input E. has been experiencing there. She plays a lot with Ms. B. and sometimes when I go to pick her up she tells me that we are in English. Every now and then, Ms. B. comes to the same direction as we do on the way home and we chat in English. E. has already made friends with another English speaking kindergarten teacher (Mrs. M.). She asked her the time in English (as I went to pick her up a little later that day).

I hope everything will go on like this in the future. My expectations were high but this nursery managed to meet them. If you have any questions about daily life in Mini Klub, just feel free to contact me.