It has always been very important to Michael and I that Alex and Emma would go to Greek school and that they would be bilingual. However, it is only in the last 2 months that we have realised that when they go to big school, they will be taught English as a foreign language and not as their first language. I am not entire sure how this never occurred to us but then we sat down and had a talk about it, it was glaringly obvious. Honestly, mama guilt began to kick in and both Michael and I felt that we had let them down by not realising this earlier.
A week or two later, I was chatting with Alex’s teacher in the nursery and she was singing his praises. In the last 3 years she hasn’t had a huge amount of interaction with him, but any time she had spoken with him, it was in English. She was saying that she was concerned that Alex wouldn’t be able to keep up and that his Greek wasn’t as good as the other children as he never spoke it. However, it turns out that there was no need for her to worry as Alex is really good in nursery. He able to recognise letters, write his name, and speak without issue in Greek. I was beaming I was so happy when she told me, but then I began to stress out that he couldn’t do those things in English. Mama guilt is a complete and utter bitch. I was so happy to hear that Alex was doing so well but then out of no where the guilt came about their lack of English comprehension. Let’s face it, they will learn English. They will learn to speak it and read it at home, but Michael and I are possibly not the best people to teach them the semantics of the language.
We are the only people in our families to live in a non English speaking country and as a result we don’t really have anyone to lead us by example. We could just leave it for the next few years and see how they get on in school and how they cope with studying two languages, but we want to be slightly more proactive than that. Whilst we have no immediate plans to return to Ireland (or leave Cyprus) we do want them to be prepared should that arise. I can imagine it would be a big transition to go from thinking, learning and speaking in Greek everyday to doing it in English. There is a chance that I may be overthinking this (it wouldn’t be the first time!) but we think it will be beneficial to at least give them some help. So with that in mind, we will be using the resources provided at Twinkl to enable us to begin teaching Alex and Emma the basics of the English language.
If you haven’t heard of Twinkl, you are seriously missing out! The site provides award-winning teaching, planning and assessment materials for children of all ages. Whilst the site is primarily aimed at teachers, it is a fantastic resource for those who are home educating and for people like us who need resources to help improve language skills beyond what is being taught in school. Although this will be my first time using their resources for children, I have been using the Twinkl Elderly Care resources for some time with clients of mine who have Dementia. We have had some great results with the reminiscence therapy packs so I am sure that Alex and Emma will be equally as pleased and enthralled as my clients were.
Over the coming months, I will be sharing our journey through pictures and posts, both here and on Instagram. I am already planning a minibeast hunt for them (although it is still very much summer here so I may need to hold off Autumn activities until later on in the year when it cools down a bit) and as Alex is Halloween OBSESSED there will be lots of fun with the Halloween resources in the coming weeks.
If you are an expat parent, or your child is learning a language that isn’t your first language, I would love to connect. This is a unique journey, but one that is becoming more and more common and sometimes it is nice to speak with people who have similar experiences. Let me know in the comments below!
Twinkl have given me a free subscription in return for my review – but all thoughts and opinions are my own.