Although I had my first crêpe in Argentina followed by crêpes in France and Quebec, my children were first introduced to authentic French crêpes at the age of 2 and 4 in the luxury of their own home.
In order to complement my children’s acquisition of world languages and expose them to other cultures and customs, my family has welcomed several au pairs into our home for one-year stints. Our French au pair, Clara, proudly made crêpes for our family shortly after her arrival and voilà, our boys were hooked! After her time with us was over, my sons continued their French lessons, but crêpes were sadly, no longer featured on our menu at home as neither my husband nor I mastered the “art.” Our subsequent au pairs were from Japan and Spain (more about the language experience with them in later posts).
We recently, and by default, re-ignited our passion for crêpes when my 6-year old son and I were making breakfast on a Sunday morning. He was pouring pancake batter onto the hot griddle when he announced that he wanted to have “one huge pancake”. As we watched his creation take on the shape of what reminded me of a crêpe, I seized the moment and added “what you’ve made looks very much like what the French call a crêpe.” His eyes lit up as he started to feel that he wasn’t just making plain ol’ pancakes for breakfast any longer; he was making something with a little more flair! He was still 2 years old when he stopped regularly enjoying authentic French crêpes, and I quickly realized his memory needed jogging. To that end, a conversation about crêpes, France and Quebec ensued. We naturally transitioned into a simple French dialog about foods, colors and textures, and we “wrapped up” with selecting a local French crêperie we could all go to as a family very soon. We injected a little French into our day by engaging in a spontaneous and relaxing conversation revolving around what started out as pancakes.
Moments like these are ideal for naturally engaging your child and reinforcing vocabulary learned in the target language. Have you had opportunities such as this to broaden your child’s horizons and help him realize that learning a world language is more than merely learning to speak it? Learning a world language is also learning about tasting, smelling and hearing the flavors, aromas and sounds of another culture. This spin on languages keeps the learning fun and exciting for children.