Helen Doron Baby Days

We took part in the so-called baby days at Helen Doron Language School. During the summer holidays (in July and August) a one-week intensive course (in both months) is organised by the school not to waste the whole summer.

This month we participated in the first 3 days only, as our native nanny comes twice a week now (Thursday and Friday mornings). I wouldn’t like to miss her.

The baby days are different from the usual course. The days are organised around a topic or more (because of the revision). There were two moms and their little ones from our group and 5 other kids (aged about 1,5-2). The 9-o’clock start was a little rough but we made it.

First day:

The colours and shapes were introduced, (or for the bigger kids) practised during the lesson. So all the toys and games were played focusing on the basic colours: red, blue, green, yellow, white, and much to my surprise, purple and orange.
There were colourful flags, a new colour song (Colours for everyone) and of course, the old songs as well (Waving song, Uppety song just to mention one or two). The colourful balls also came out of the box, much to E.’s delight, not to mention the building blocks (together with the Stacking song), though E. can’t really build yet, but destroy.

I would like to emphasise one of the activities that E. liked the most and I’m planning to make it for her. Matching colours activity: pieces of coloured paper are cut, laminated and a piece of Velcro is stuck on the back. Kids need to stick the right colours to their places on a sheet of paper where the colours are signed. I’ll attach a photo to the home-made tools post as soon as I make it.

Second day:

The colours and shapes were revised a little bit (the best game was colouring shapes with baby paint or crayons – see the picture above – that we could take home) and then means of transport were introduced: cars, trucks, buses, tractors, aeroplanes, wagon, bicycle (I didn’t really understand why we didn’t use bike instead of bicycle or plane instead of aeroplane)

Again there were a lot of moving around (with paper plates that have cars, trucks or buses on them – we were imitating driving them)

Third day:

Daddy took E. to the lesson where, apart from the previous days revisions (shapes, colours, transport), there were some coloured paper planes to fly through a ring and numbers were covered as well (counting pegs etc.) . There was a new song: Elephant song also connected to counting up to 5. Alas, Daddy could not remember all the details of the lesson, so that’s all I know about it.

All in all, these three days were fun, the only drawback was that we were too many (8 moms with 8  kids). However, I think we are going to pay for the next session in August, too.

 

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Swinging up and down – games in the playground

Swinging and seesawing

When we go to the park, we always visit one of the playgrounds nearby.
As I didn’t know a good swing song in English, I asked a good friend of mine, K. and she recommended the following:

Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?

Looking all around in my great big swing,
Looking all around in my great big swing,
Looking all around in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?
Swaying back and forth in my great big swing,
Swaying back and forth in my great big swing,
Swaying back and forth in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Swinging up and down in my great big swing,
Won’t you be my darling?

By the way K. is on facebook with her Rhyming nursery. She’s got lots of great ideas to have fun in English with kids.

Another playground game that an 11-month-old can enjoy is the seesaw. Here is a song to sing along:

See Saw Margery Daw,
Johnny shall have a new master;
Johnny shall earn but a penny a day,
Because he can’t work any faster.

 

I really like the Gracie Lou character, so here is a version of it.

This song has been made into a swing song by Helen Doron. I don’t want to breach any copyrights so here is the lyrics only:

 

See Saw Margery Daw,
Johnny is swinging with granny;
He is swinging and it’s lots of fun
And it can be very funny.

 

Well, I sing it with “mommy” instead of “granny” and I, of course, replace “Johnny” with E.

I also know some other seesaw rhymes:

See-Saw Sacradown,
Which is the way to London town?
One foot up, the other foot down,
That is the way to London town.
or
See-Saw, up and down,
Tommy goes up, Tommy goes down.
I’ll be back with more playground stuff.

Changing from Hungarian to English and vica cersa

Just a short post about how to sign that we are using one or the other language. At present I’m trying to use every time to talk in English to E. So for instance, when D. takes the dog out for 20-30 minutes in the morning or in the evening E. and I change into English.

Before I start speaking English I sing the ‘Hello’ song. It is taken from the BBC programme called Something Special. (Jump to 0:20 for the song)

Before we change into Hungarian, I sing the “Goodbye song” from the same programme. (You can find the video below – just jump to 13:20. This is where the “Goodbye song” starts. Otherwise it’s a great episode on birthdays. Worth watching the whole). I also use the MAKATON signs while I sing. E. takes pleasure in it and the songs make it clear when we use one language and the other.

I’m sure there are several other ways to give a signal for changing between the languages. I look forward to your comments on how YOU do it.

Our daily activites – mornings and changing table time

When E. has woken up in the morning and I go into her room singing the following song while pulling up the blinds:

Good morning, good morning, good morning to you
Good morning Ms E…. cock-a-doodle-do
Good morning, good morning, good morning to you
Good morning Ms E…. cock-a-doodle-do
Cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a-doodle-do
Good morning to you.

 

In the original song there’s Mr Rooster, but I changed it to Ms E.’.
Even if D. goes in to her first he sings this song too. Though he continues talking to her in Hungarian.

If E. wakes up late and D. has already gone to work we start the whole day in English. So, for instance, I change her nappy and night clothes while talking in English to her:

  • asking about what she dreamt (I always wait a little for her answer)
  • what the problem was during the night (if she was up)
  • tell her milk is on the way
  • while changing the nappy we have a rhyme that I always chant several times:

    Baby’s got a dirty nappy
    What shall we do? (What shall we do?)
    Clean it up, clean it up
    For Mommy and for you

    She likes it a lot and smiles, what’s more, stays on her back patiently instead of turning onto her tummy or standing up. The rhyme is from here. You can find other games you can play, songs or rhymes to chant while your baby is on the changing table.

  • we play peek-a-boo with her textile nappy (I cover her with the nappy then ask “Where’s E.? Where’s she gone?” then she takes the nappy off – or I do it) “I see you.” or “There you are.”. Another variation is I hide behind her feet and ask “Where’s Mommy?” or “Where’s Mommy gone?” Then I open her legs and say: “Here I am” or “Peek-a-boo”
  • there’s a shelf over our changing table and at the bottom of it I stuck up wooden, painted animals, so I name them, make the sounds they make, or sing a song about them. E.g.:

    Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
    your house is on fire, your children are gone
    All, but one her name is Ann,
    and she has crept under a frying pan.

    (I couldn’t find the tune online,but I’ll link it as soon as I do or please put it in a comment if you know where to find it)

    or

    Five little ducks went swimming one day
    Over the pond and far away
    Mommy duck said: quack-quack-quack
    But only four little duck came back

    Four little ducks went swimming one day
    Over the pond and far away
    Mommy duck said: quack-quack-quack
    But only three little duck came back
    (on the changing table I usually start with 3 ducks and by the time I finish changing the nappy or clothes we’ll get to the end)

  • still on the changing table we play “This little pig went to market“. E. likes this most on her toes. I grab each of her toes on one foot one by one and wiggle them a bit as I say the rhyme.

    This little pig went to market;
    This little pig stayed at home;
    This little pig had roast beef;
    And this little pig had none;
    This little pig cried, “Wee, wee, wee!
     All the way home
    . (I tickle the bottom of her foot)

  • While I’m putting on her clothes I usually name her body parts and what clothes go where:
    “Here’s your left arm, it goes into this sleeve”
    or
    “One foot goes into the tights, then the other foot goes into the tights” etc.
  • at the breakfast table we play with the coffee cup and the matching teapot. Both have four fruit on them and I name them; she loves the grapes and screams with joy when we get there. And of course, we can’t miss singing “I’m a little teapot” (4 or 5 times – in fact, this is MY favourite song)
  • E. didn’t use to like brushing or combing her hair, but when we sing along she enjoys it:

    This is the way we comb (or brush) our hair
    Comb our hair, comb our hair
    This is the way we comb (or brush) our hair
    Every day in the morning
    (I sing it twice as she expects me to comb my hair too)

  • she often watches me brushing my teeth while she is sitting in her high chair after breakfast. Then we brush her teeth (or rather she just plays with the toothbrush) and I sing “This is the way we brush our teeth” (same as the combing song, the tune has several verses – see an example here )
  • she sometimes watches me clear the breakfast table. I always tell her the name of the objects I put into the dishwasher, and I also tell her what I put into the fridge (the latter is more fun for her as I see because of the colourful things she can have a look at)
  • if E. is whiny in her high chair then I put her into her playpen where she plays alone. This is the time when she listens to her collection of music (compiled from youtube and added the Helen Doron songs). In the meantime I can do some housework.

Yeah, I sing a lot and keep talking all the time. Sometimes by the afternoon I can hardly talk, am totally tired of speaking, not to mention singing. Thank Goodness for coffee. It always gives a little energy back.

When we have our Hungarian sessions we do more or less the same. The morning routine is the same, the games are the same, only the songs are different. Sometimes I sing the combing/teeth brushing song or “I’m a little teapot” in English as I don’t know any good Hungarian versions of them.

    Helen Doron Early English – First Impressions

    Putting aside my scepticism, few weeks ago we took part in a mock lesson at the Helen Doron school nearby. The teacher, Zs., was really kind, gave us all the information we needed (about the course booklets, CDs, prices, summer programmes, the course itself). She was well-prepared for the lesson (even had a little piece of paper with the lesson plan, CD track numbers etc., which E. wanted to steal). She’s got a relatively strong Hungarian accent. I would be happier with a native speaker, but you can’t have it all.

    The lesson was only 20 minutes long. The usual lesson is 45 minutes otherwise. We have already known one of the songs which is also available online and E. recognised it showing it with a wide smile and arm flapping when it started:

    In the past I had already visited a lesson in another school, where the teacher was nice as well and the lesson could have gone well, however the parents present were a pain in the neck. So this time I was worried about the other moms. Luckily, the whole session was a pleasant surprise. Three mommies were there with their little ones and after we’d chatted a bit, it turned out they also think in the same way as I do. They want some useful activities for their kids. None of them was smarty, bossy or pushy as for the language learning. (At the previous place moms corrected the teacher, talked in Hungarian with their kids during the lesson, bombarded the teacher with their idiotic questions after the lesson. None of these happened here.)
    So we went home cheerfully. I discussed the details with D. and we decided to go for it.

    The course has just started we are at the very beginning. It’s hard to draw any conclusion, but so far so good. We are enjoying it. I found the CD material quite entertaining, nicely put together and only about 10 minutes long. According to the instructions, E. needs to listen to it twice a day. We manage to do that. We have a long list of songs she listens to while I’m doing housework, so I included the Helen Doron tracks into our morning routine.

    The school premises are basic, though. The classrooms are okay, they are well-equipped. Still, I think the flashcard, pictures should be re-laminated every now and then.

    The prices are reasonable. If we do not calculate the booklets and CDs, on a monthly basis it costs as if you were going to a costly playhouse once or twice a week.

    Of course, hiring a native nanny at the same fee would be the best, but I want E. to be in another surroundings, meeting other people, kids.

    In the back of my mind it is also there that some moms might be interested in MEC. I’ll give them a flyer soon.

    I’ll be back posting on Helen Doron Early English more, when I have more to talk about.