By Eleni Elefterias
What do you get a new mother for her baby when you know she wants to teach it Greek.
The safe bet is a CD of Greek lullabies. One of the best, with traditional tunes is by Savinna Yiannatou.
Youtube is a good source of Greek music. A baby needs soothing music to sleep and calm music so he doesn’t become startled when awake.
When the baby is able to sit up then make sure, if she is looking at a screen, there is something Greek on it. This way she is getting as much incidental Greek learning as possible. If you still have a Dvd player there are some great Dvds for babies such as My First Words in Greek and English DVD produced right here in Australia for 0-4 years.
You should be reading to your baby even while breast feeding. As a baby’s grip strengthens, they are able to grasp little board books. The more colourful, the better. Choose smaller sized board books that fit into small hands on the subjects of Animals, Numbers, Colours, Toys and Shapes. Showing the Greek Alphabet is pretty useless at this stage unless the book is accompanied by word and pictures.
Babies love simple stories. One-word pages, lots of stimulating colourful images. Something they can touch and feel to help them learn about the world as all those neurones in their brain develop.
Apart from board books, soft material books are great for this age too.
Repetition is the key so once you know what their favourite books are so Read and Repeat! That way they will definitely learn what they hear. If you assume they will never understand greek then you are right they will not! However, if you assume they will then you will be pleasantly surprised.
It is a good time now to either get large flash cards or make your own colourful flash cards and place them on the walls and in the furniture in various rooms and as you pass by with the baby, point and say the word out loud. Labels and tags are very important learning resource from babyhood and beyond.
All the resources above are available at www.bilingualbookshop.com.au