This school year, we decided to do something new, and signed the kids up for “specials” at the local public school. We are very lucky to have been able to put the boys in a Spanish class that meets twice a week. I really want to be able to work with the kids on their Spanish skills at home so their language skills stay sharp, but with my limited Spanish speaking experience made it difficult for me to find the right product to use. Lucky for me, I found Whistlefritz, an award winning company that produces DVDs, CDs and Lesson Plans for Spanish and French.
Whistlefritz sent me a copy of The Complete Collection: Spanish for Kids, a 5 DVD and 2 Audio CD set to use with the kids. I was impressed with this company the moment I popped the DVD in the player.
The Complete Collection: Spanish for Kids includes:
- Adentro y Afluera DVD (inside and out)
- Los Animales DVD (Animals)
- Vamos a Jugar DVD (Let’s Play)
- Las Estanciones DVD (The Seasons)
- La Fiesta de Fritzi DVD (Fritzi’s Party)
- Cha, Cha, Cha CD
- A Bailar! CD (Let’s Dance!)
- Translation Guide for all DVD’s and CD’s
The videos teach by immersion, which means there is no English in the video. The main character is “Fritzi” a cute little mouse, who doesn’t talk, but stars in the videos. Much of the language instruction comes from Maria, a woman the kids took to immediately. She’s pleasant and smiling, and speaks directly to the children through the video. There are also many children in the video, and Jorge, who sings fun songs. The kids get up on their feet to dance along with the songs, and both my youngest and oldest children are enamored by these videos
These videos don’t just show still images and words. Whistlefritz uses a combination of creative story lines, well done animation, native speakers and catchy music to teach in a natural way. We brought the CD’s in the car so we could keep practicing the vocabulary on the go. All the music is beautifully done, with singers with clear, strong voices. The music is catchy and fun and the kids loved singing along. I loved that the songs were not “kid music” in the sense that they had off key children (or worse, parents) singing the music- it was all professional quality and wonderful.
When a new word is introduced, it’s shown in Spanish on the screen. The kids caught on quickly to the story line and what was being taught, even though they are far from speaking Spanish fluently. While the videos have no English, they did come with a translation guide which helped me reenforce the concepts that were being taught. For example, on the “Inside and Out” DVD, the children are taught the names of fruit in Spanish. I was able to use the guide to learn how to ask the kids if they were hungry in Spanish, so we could practice that vocabulary outside of watching the DVD.
Whistlefritz also has a Spanish Lesson Plans which coordinate with and complements the DVD. We used the free lesson plans to reenforce the videos, and I was so pleased with how well done they are. I have not seen the complete Spanish Lesson Plans book, but from my experience with the DVDs, CDs, and free lessons, I am confident that they too are probably a fabulous product. The printable flash cards we used with the kids to reenforce the food lesson is part of the free lesson plans you can sign up for from Whistlefritz, and they will give you a good idea of the quality and thoughtful effort put into this program. If you are looking for a complete Spanish program, the Educators Spanish Collection, which includes the complete collection of DVDs and CDs shown here, as well as the Spanish Lesson Plans and Matching Cards, would be a wonderful choice for early elementary student’s first introduction to Spanish.
Whistlefritz also included a copy of Cha, Cha, Cha, their French CD in my package. This CD is every bit as well done as the Spanish Complete Collection. A native speaker sings in french to upbeat songs. I was amazed at how fast the kids picked these songs up as well, even though we focused a lot on learning Spanish in the same time period. I think this really goes to show how well a catchy tune can teach a child! Whistlefritz just released their first French DVD, so if you’re looking to teach the kids French, this is a company to watch!
In a Nutshell
Whistlefritz is a company that makes teaching foreign language to children easy using the immersion method. All lessons are taught by native speakers, using attractive animation, fun music, and a thoughtful progression of skills. The CD’s and DVD’s can be used independently of each other, or combined with the Lesson Plan book for a complete curriculum for children in Pre-K though Early Elementary school. The key to teaching a foreign language is repetition, and these DVDs are so well done that it’s easy to put them on repeat and watch them again and again. The kids have yet to tire of them, and we all learn something new every time I turn them on. These are all high quality materials that I would recommend to any of my friends hoping to teach their children to speak a foreign language. The Complete Collection retails for $97.45.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.