Bilingual Siblings: Gibberish or Exploring New Languages?

gregre&soeur (2)After a great and sunny break, here news from the book project, Bilingual Families: Bringing Up Children between Cultures (learn more here). I have already interviewed 18 couples and single parents about their experiences of multilingual parenting. I’m glad I got to spend such happy times listening to everyday life stories involving two or more languages. One interesting point some parents emphasise is the relationship that develops between siblings while they are in the process of picking up new languages.

Here are some interesting extracts from my latest interviews…

Céline from France is married to Ridvan from Albania. In the interview they talked about their experience with both their kids, age 1,5 and six.

Céline Since going to nursery and then school she is more and more reluctant to speak French. I keep speaking to her in French and she keeps answering in English most of the time. Socially she wants to speak the same language as her friends. Understanding is not an issue, it’s the speaking. Continue Reading

Explore new playgrounds in Oxford: Bury Knowle Park

Bury Knowle BLOG3Are you looking for a change?  Do you feel like trying some exciting new slides or games? We recently went on a bike excursion to the Bury Knowles Park in Headington! Wait a minute, don’t lose interest… Headington is not that far away from Oxford as you might imagine… Frankly, this playground is worth seeing! Everything is about the atmosphere here. When you get in, you are not just crossing a gate, you are walking through a wardrobe as in Narnia’s story…
You will find that the playground games are full of fun and very imaginative: unicorn and crocodile see-saws, great swings and slides and a pirate ship immersed in sand with a water game area. I couldn’t resist trying a special spinning swing with my other half, the kind where you fly around in seconds… our children just howled on!

What? The Bury Knowle Park -London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9HX

How can I go there? Several busses coming from Oxford’s City Centre stop nearby. You can also cycle there: take the Morell Avenue to avoid the Headington hill, then the Gipsy Lane which leads onto Headington Road.

Suitable for Babies and Toddlers? Bury Knowle BLOG2Yes! The playground is divided in two main parts: one of them –enclosed by yellow gates- is more suitable for the younger ones, up to toddle age. Outside this area (see picture) you have some exciting playground games for older or more adventures children (spinning swings, zip wire, climbing spaces).

Continue Reading

Nick Cope on OxFrogNews

When you see him walking in East Oxford with his dog Norman, green wellies, relaxed, smiling, probably daydreaming –you may not believe it, but he is the star of many Oxfordian children and their parents. “As I lie here in my bed, I should be sleeping bit instead…” is one of our favourites at home, closely followed by “Let’s take a walk…” and we love singing them in the kitchen at the top of our voice whilst trying to prepare diner.

  • If you don’t know Nick yet, I would really recommend that you join one of his sessions which are all over Oxford and beyond. His music captivates the whole family!
  • If you know Nick already, I am sure that you will be delighted to discover a little more who this is behind trendy glasses and the guitar. Enjoy this little chat we had around tea and sparkling water.

Nick, let us make a time travel and take us with you back to your childhood: singer, book, toy – what were your number ones?Nick enfants orig
Mhhhh (he smiles and looks like when he’s singing with the children) give me some seconds to remember. My very, very first musician was… Mary Hopkins, a folk singer – she is stuck in my mind I think because Mum and Dad had an autograph from her, she sang the famous “Those were the days” Knowing that will reveal my age… (he grins).
My favourite toy, this is easy, going back to the late 60s, it’s a little figure, an astronaut called Billy Blastoff.
And then, a book read by my parents… let me think, not to confuse with the books I have read to my children… Ah yes, my favourite book was Harry the dirty dog (Gene Zion)!

When did you discover the guitar?
I was about 13! cd_aw.qxdWe did the recorder at school and my sister was learning the guitar from a little old lady in our village. I just couldn’t figure out, how that could possibly work when you have 8 notes but only 6 strings… I was baffled and wanted to work it out. I took some lessons with the little old lady and later started in a band, when I was about 14. Later on, I was 15 or so, we played on Saturday evenings at “The Oranges and Lemons” which was a very famous Punk Rock pub at that time (today “The Angel and Greyhound”).

As a child did you know that you will become a singer?
I guess that I was sure to do something creative, because that’s what my parents used to do. I think you often follow your parents’ footsteps. And to be in an artistic family helps when you have projects like that – you find it easier to believe in yourself. Continue Reading

Wonder Walk through Oxford

Wonder Walk mapAnd now close your eyes, turn around yourself, anticlockwise…” if you see a group close to St Mary’s Church or on Christchurch Meadow reacting upon these instructions, don’t be worried, they are simply on a Wonder Walk!
The Story Museum located in the heart of Oxford just re-launched their Wonder Walks for families (and grown-ups who like stories). A rather unusual activity which guarantees a lot of fun, laughs and unexpected details about Oxford and those places where fantasy stories originated. It would be a shame to reveal all the stories now, but let me just say that I learned new things about sweet Alice, the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church in the 1850s… but pssst, you should discover the other details by yourself 🙂 Your “Wonder-Tourguides” will protect you from dragons and safely lead you through the different universes with humour, creativity and pizzazz!

What is the Wonder Walk? Wonder Walk JaneDo you like stories, fantasy, time travelling, imagination, fancy dressing? Than you will be happy to join this family friendly walkabout through some of Oxford’s beautiful sights which you may not know under the “storytelling” perspective. Equipped with a storytelling map, you explore some of the backgrounds of well-known stories such as Alice in Wonderland or CS. Lewis’ Narnia. At every place you will receive a sticker for your map (great souvenir for the children!). And don’t forget, watch the dragons and follow “P-Body” the flamingo…

It’s for families, but which age is the best? I would recommend Continue Reading

World Book Day – everyday!

Reading is one of my favourite activities. I love the retreat to a calm and warm place with a good book to embark on a trip to another world.
Reading with children is often not as silent and secret – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is less fun. It’s just different.
Remember the stars in their eyes when you read for the fourth time the same story. Or their giggly laugh when you imitate voices ands sounds or better still when the tiniest fell asleep in your arms during story time.

Here are some of my actual favourite books to share with your children… Continue Reading

Do you know SOAP?

SOAP 2

What’s for sure, during these sunny/drizzling, chilly and still muddy days you will need soap (and warm water) after having had fun at SOAP!
SOAP stands for South Oxford Adventure Park and is located close to Abingdon Road and Hinksey Park. An immense playground in a splendid green area with a lot of places to climb, run, explore wooden castles, shiny slides and other funny play corners – as far as the eye can see. It’s a special place, a charity, run by volunteers – a new group just started – with a lot of workshops to stir the younger ones’ creativity. SOAP 1

For whom? I would recommend for kids from 3 years onwards. They will have a lot of fun discovering some slides, swings and a little climbing castle. The older ones have a lot of other spaces to let off steam : football field, giant wooden fort and a zip-wire… lots of others things to explore! It’s “the place to be” when you have siblings!

Good to know This playground is especially for kids coming after school. You can go there alone when you’re about 7 years old (there is a registration). The under 7s should be accompanied by a grown up. Continue Reading