Atama, kata, hiza, ashi!

Most early literacy specialists recognize the importance of encouraging families to speak, sing and read with their children in the language they’re most comfortable with. I try to reinforce this through the early literacy messages I sprinkle throughout my story times.

One of the best ways to get a message across, though, is to lead by example. I’ve been trying to include more songs in different languages in my story times, and to provide examples of songs that can be adapted to different languages.

My partner came home from Japanese language class humming a very familiar tune – they’d been learning Head and shoulders, knees and toes as part of a lesson on anatomical vocabulary.

What a perfect song to use with different languages! We sang it at my babytime in Japanese and Chinese, and it was a lot of fun for everyone to practice the different vocabulary.

Telling parents to sing with their babies in their native language is fantastic, but providing them with options, examples and suggestions is even more helpful – not everyone necessarily remembers the songs they sung as a child, and sometimes we just get so bored of the same old traditional songs that we’re desperate for something new to try! Sharing is caring!