Thursday, April 11, 2013

More random notes - street cleaning, language acquisition, and crayons

A few more notes that aren't enough to make a full blog post:

- When walking around in Geneva in the earlier part of the morning, you'll usually see street sweepers.  They have these little street sweeping vehicles, driven by one man and will usually have two helpers who have these really old fashioned looking brooms - like broomsticks from a Harry Potter movie.  They sweep from the sidewalk, and between cars, into the path of the street sweeping vehicle.  The funny thing is, Geneva streets are very dirty compared to other places.  It's mostly dog poop, which is everywhere. AND people will actually sometimes put it in a bag, then drop the bag right on the street - assuming the street sweeper will take care of it.

Street sweepers, view from our kitchen.  Notice the tiny figures in
bright yellow on the sidewalk
- Peter forgot the word "sister" in English.  It came up in a book I was reading to him, and he asked me what it meant!  He's forgotten quite a few English words, but this one shocked me a bit.  I guess, for kids, "easy come, easy go" in terms of languages.  The husband of a friend of mine lived in Denmark for 2 years when he was age 7 to 9, and spoke Danish fluently.  After moving back to Germany with his family, he promptly forgot it, and now can't understand or speak it at all.

- I've thought quite a bit on how to help the kids retain their French language skills.  Other people I've talked to have thought about putting their kids in French immersion school, but that's too much work and expense for me.  And frankly, while it's great to speak another language, I don't want emphasize it to the point of sending them to a special school.  So, the plan is this - I'll buy a bunch of popular kids movies (Lion King, Finding Nemo, etc) that are dubbed into French.  When we're back in the US, that's what they can watch for movie time.  Easy peasy, I hope.

- Crayons, for 6.70 CHF a box - that's currently $7.21 USD.  I was looking for watercolor paints for Peter, and found these at the Migros on Rue de Eaux Vives.  It's really just regular wax crayons, and only 10 of them.  They're in a nice metal box, but still!  In the US, I've bought boxes of 24 crayons on sale for 25 cents a box.  Maximum, you could probably pay $1 for a box.  How the heck do they come up with these prices?)

1 comment:

Kobi Reiter said...

With regard to how to help kids keep a language - If you can find another family with kids roughly the same age whose kids also speak French, and have the kids play together with some frequency (while speaking French to one another), that'll help a lot.