I proposed Teona to play a game that we never played before. We used her kitchen set and 7 toys (a bear, a doll, a cat, two dogs, a cow, a deer) and we played "Lady cook in kindergarten". We agree on this name. One of the toy, Pluto, the dog, is a mediator. He helps her in the kitchen. The deer (one of the Santa's raindeers) is a visitor from the North Pole and he can only speaks English. The deer wants to know Teona's secret recipes for children in kindergarten.

Deer: Hello Teona!

Pluto: What does it mean?

Deer: (repeting) Hello!

Teona: Hello! He is saying "salut" (Romanian word).

Pluto: Hello deer.

Pluto: What should we cook for the kids today, Teona?

(everything is already arranged)

T: Let's see...The first one is Milka, the cow.

P: What does she eats?

T: Milka eats grass. But we don't have grass. We should have taken from the park.

P: What else can we do?

T: I don't know.

P: It's a baby cow. What else does she eats?

T: Milk.

Deer: Milk. Milk.

P: What is he saying?

Deer: Milk.

T: (repeats the word) Milk.

Me: He said "milk". It means "lapte" (the word in Romanian).

T: Let's boil the milk and put it in the pink glass.

Deer: Pink

Teona looks surprised and in a way "lost".

Deer: Pink.

Teona: Pink the girl? (She means the singer Pink) 

Deer: (head denies) No

Teona: No means "nu" in Romanian.

Me: Pink means "roz" (Romanian word). The color.

Teona: (repeats) Pink.

Pluto: Who's next?

Deer: Who's next?

It is difficult for Teona to repeat exactly. But she tries.

T: Beethoven, the dog. we can give him a bone. But I don't have a bone in my fridge.

P: What do you have in the fridge that can be good for a dog?

T: Meat. I will heat the food at the microwave.

P: Let's use the cooker stove. It's more healthy.

Teona gives the plate to Beethoven.

T: The next one is Garfield, the cat.

Deer: Cat. Cat.

T: it means "pisica". (Romanian word) Cat.

P: Good Teona. What does a cat eat.

T: We still have chicken in the fridge. I will prepare it right away.


T: Next one is Ramona, the doll.

Deer: Girl. Girl.

T: A doll. It means a doll.

Me: No, it does not mean a doll. It is the English word for "fata" (Romanian word). Repeat the word Girl.

T: Girl. Girl.

P: What can we cook for Ramona?

T: She can eat anything. We can give her a cake with strawberries or grapes.

P: No sweets before meal.

T: I will cook her a soup.

P: I will take a pen and write the recipe.

T: You take a meat and cut it like this (showing)... You boil it. After that you put some noodles (she describes how her grandma makes them), salt and cabbage.

P: Cabbage? Why not any other vegetables?

T: This is the only vegetable I have on my fridge.

P: The next one is Lino, the bear.

T: He likes honey.
Deer: Honey. Honey.

T: I don't know what he is saying.

Me: Repeat the word. Honey. (she repeats) It means "miere" (Romanian word)

T: we don't have honey in my fridge. But I will imagine that we have.

P: What can we cook with honey that the bear would like?

T: I don't know. Maybe if we mix it with some milk. I still have milk...

Deer: Enjoy your meal! Enjoy your meal!

Me: It means "pofta buna" (Romanian word)

After she washes the dishes, Teona and Pluto do the same thing with giving them some desserts and something to drink. She does not want to share her muffins recipe with Pluto. The deer says often words like "water", "tea", "milk" etc.

Teona repets them correctly.

When the game was over I asked her if there was a word that she remember and she can repeat.

T: I don't remember.

Me: Try. For example he said a lot the English word for "apa" (water).

T: I don't remember.

After a few seconds she says: Let's go!

Me: The deer did not say this expression. Do you know it from the kindergarten?

T: No. I heard it at Baby TV. (it is in English)

It surprised me when she translated it correctly to me.

T: I know also "Good bye". Again she translated correctly

We will give it another try using other strategies.

22 Lug 2013, 04:07
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Simona, nice to read your English experience! I agree with Alexander that the beginning sounds very promising - Teona is motivated, accepts the language, tries to repeat it and even surprises you with some expressions:)
I agree that there should be less translation, and more simple phrases rather than separate words. At the same time, it's important to keep motivation and not to make it too difficult for the child. So you can keep suggestions in mind and try to implement them but don't be afraid if you'll have to come back to separate words and translation for a while. Everything comes with time:)
Good to read you've decided to go ahead with language as well. I think it's been a very good beginning. And, reading from the description, it worked pretty well with Teona, didn't it? Do share more thoughts about this aspect please.

Some pieces of advice regarding the dialogue.

The amount of language for reception (for Teona to understand) can be larger than the language she tries to repeat. While it's clear that you are keeping to separate works for the latter, I think you can easily go for simple phrases for the former. What do you think?

I'd also recommend that you avoid translation unless it's really necessary. For example, when Teona thought that the mediator said a a doll rather than a girl, the mediator could have tried to explain. He could have said, 'You are a girl' (addressing Teona) and 'It is a doll' (pointing to some doll), 'You are NOT a doll' (again addressing Teona), etc. I am sure it could work.