J’aime Paris

The news of the Paris shooting yesterday was too close to home and deeply saddened us. Only last week, we were on the Champs-Élysée taking in the sights. We were posing in front of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. It is an amazing city and our first visit left us wanting for more. Too short a time – 2 days in Paris.

I will be writing more about our tour of the city but for now I leave you with a few images of the beautiful city of Paris.

Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower

 

Roue de Paris
Roue de Paris

 

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris
Notre-Dame Cathedral

 

Summit View - Eiffel Tower, Paris
The view from the summit of the Eiffel Tower

 

Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Arc de Triomphe

 

The Pyramid at the Louvre
The Louvre, Paris

The All-New Kazoops is here

We love Kazoops and if you’ve been following my blog, you know how thrilled we were to go to the premiere.

Now we have some more amazing news for you as there are all new episodes for you to see starting today at 4.20pm.

We were lucky enough to once again get a sneak peek at the new episode and I have to tell you that it is so much fun.

In this episode, the family needs to move something heavy upstairs and Monty provides some very innovative ways of how they can do so. His family ask him to stop day dreaming but his day dreaming  turns out to provide a solution in the end. There is a lively song included in the episode as he and Jimmy Jones go on yet another adventure. I’m not going to spoil it all for you and tell you exactly what it is about. You’ll just have to tune in at 4.20 pm today to find out.

If you didn’t already know –

Kazoops is a children’s series on CBeebies and here’s a little more about it –

Monty Kazoop is a spirited boy of six, whose best friend is a pig called Jimmy Jones. In each episode Monty confronts a preconception about the grown-up world and sets out to challenge it, embarking on a wild imaginary adventure with Jimmy that offers them a fresh perspective.
 
In each episode Monty and Jimmy use their imaginations to find ways to look differently at the world around them.  For after all, who says the world works the way grown ups think it should? Things can always be different if you just imagine. 
Don’t forget  – today at 4.20 pm on CBeebies you can catch the all new episode of Kazoops. For more information and activities you can also check out the Kazoops page

 

 

 

Heathrow launches Little Linguistics Initiative

I like learning languages and encourage the children to do so as well. I was really pleased to know about this recent initiative taken by Heathrow to encourage children to learn to speak the language of the country they are going to.

 

Here’s more about the programme –

With Heathrow expecting a record 868,000 passengers over Easter weekend and 200,000 extra families set to travel, the UK’s hub airport today announced its Little Linguists initiative, which aims to inspire children to learn new languages.

In partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Opinium, Heathrow has studied the role languages currently play in children’s lives as well as identifying the languages children should learn to set them up for maximum opportunities in adulthood. The findings revealed French, German and Mandarin as the three languages that should be learnt to best set kids up for life in ten years’ time, with language skills expected to add up to £500 billion to the economy by 2027.

In a new survey of over 2,000 UK adults with children under 18, results found that kids up and down the country aren’t making the most of the opportunities languages present them with. Nearly half (45%) of parents have children who can’t speak a second language*, with nearly one in five children (19%) not interested in learning new languages while one in ten (10%) say they find it too difficult.

The overwhelming majority (85%) of parents believe it is important for children to speak a second language. More than one in four (27%) suggest that this will enhance career opportunities and boost employability benefitting from more opportunity to pursue careers overseas.

To help inspire children to learn new languages, Heathrow has developed the ‘Little Linguists’ initiative, working with founder of Bilingualism Matters and Professor of Developmental Linguistics at Edinburgh University, Antonella Sorace. The airport has created packs of Mr Adventure themed flashcards, available for families to download online or pick up for free at information desks across all terminals airside over the Easter holidays.

The cards feature a series of simple phrases to introduce kids to French, German and Mandarin. The airports’ Passenger Ambassadors, or ‘Language Ambassadors’ will also be on hand to help kids practice their new skills, speaking 39 languages between them. Families can simply look out for members of the team wearing language ambassador badges who will be ready and willing to help get children practicing their skills.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Easter at Heathrow brings huge numbers of families together to discover exciting languages, cultures and experiences. We hope this gives them a fun and educational start to their holiday, and inspires our future generation of little global explorers.”

Professor of Developmental Linguistics at Edinburgh University and Director of Bilingualism Matters, Antonella Sorace said: “This research demonstrates how important language learning is to the UK economy, and shows that many more doors are opened to people who learn a second language as children. We believe that language learning is hugely beneficial for children’s development and it’s a real investment for the future: children who are exposed to different languages become more aware of different cultures, other people and other points of view. They also tend to be better than monolinguals at ‘multitasking’ and often are more advanced readers. Bilingualism gives children so much more than just two languages so it’s fantastic to see that Heathrow is helping to get kids inspired about learning languages this Easter.”

As well as the Little Linguists initiative, the airport has a number of family-friendly offers during the Easter holidays, including ‘kids eat free’ at restaurants, soft play areas and appearances by Mr Adventure himself. To learn more about Heathrow’s range of family friendly initiatives visit: http://www.heathrow.com/family.

 

Language learning tips for children
Professor of Developmental Linguistics at Edinburgh University and Director of Bilingualism Matters, Antonella Sorace has shared her top five tips on helping children learn a second language:

1. Teach through repetition to help your kids become familiar with the way the new words sound
Hearing words and phrases repeated in different ways and in different situations helps children to remember them better and to figure out how the language works.

2. Play games in the foreign language to keep learning fun (e.g. Pictionary, I Spy)
Children don’t need language lessons – they learn more if they are having fun! Games can help to get them more engaged with the new language.

3. The more input from native speakers, the better so holidays are the perfect time to practice
Hearing languages spoken by different native speakers is good for language learning because it helps children to better learn the grammar and the pronunciation of words and phrases.

4. Encourage kids to watch TV shows and listen to pop music from the country of the language they are learning
Chatting with native speakers is not the only way children can be exposed to the sounds of a new language – listening to music lyrics teaches children how the language is constructed and helps them to develop authentic communication skills which make them sound more like a native speaker.

5. Be positive! Support and encourage your child when they are learning a new language
Positive interest and enthusiasm about the language your child is learning will give them confidence and makes the whole process much more enjoyable. Why not try holding dedicated language learning nights where you practice speaking the language all together over dinner?

 

Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey Book Review

I love a good ‘Whodunit’, and ‘Let the Dead Speak’ ticked all the boxes.

Knowing I was away on holiday, I knew I could not pass up the chance to read this book by Jane Casey.

Here’s the blurb –
A murder without a body: Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.
A girl too scared to talk: Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?
A detective with everything to prove: As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…
When the living won’t talk, let the dead speak.”

What I thought –

The book had me hooked at the word go. I didn’t want to put it down. The characters are well drawn and quite fleshy. The suspense had me going until the end.
It had quite a few unexpected twists which made me want to keep reading on and I stayed up late to finish it.

A good thriller must have the element of surprise and a bit of the sinister in my opinion and this book had it all. A perfect holiday read as you’ll want the finish it in one go.