Founded in 2004, Kinderzoo, has been specifically designed for children that are raised bilingually, learning German at home while living in an English-speaking country. We want to encourage your children to be equally proficient in both languages, not only in comprehension, but also in their ability to speak both languages equally well.
A common experience of the German/American bilingual household is that children often have problems expressing themselves in German, even if they understand the language perfectly. Due to lack of practice, they often chose the dominant English language for conversation.
We structure our time to balance music, language activities, interactive games and art, all especially chosen to encourage the children to SPEAK the language. Lessons are centered around themes, such as seasons, weather, animals, plants, German festivals, etc and we often employ puppets to ensure a lively interaction between us and the students. Our regular visitor, Mimi Mouse, a curious mouse full of questions, is always welcomed by the students!
While Kinderzoo is in session, the teachers don’t understand any English. It is astounding how quickly the children accept this as a fact and communicate more in spoken German. We encourage the parents to practice this at home, even if the household is a mix of languages.
Each parent should decide on their “primary” language and try to consistently address the child using this language, even if that means to repeat everything in English if one is in mixed company.
Besides our regular meetings with the students, we also plan other activities, like quarterly outings with the whole family, hiking, BBQ etc in order to establish a community of German/American life involving the entire family.