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Babel Babies

location_on United Kingdom

Multilingual music & education for adults & children to explore languages & linguistics 🌍🎶 Sing, learn & love languages together.

Founded in 2011, Babel Babies offers parents/early years settings with children from birth to age 10 the chance to learn languages together. Songs and stories in ten different languages are at the heart of our online sessions, where we explore the globe with multilingual mascot Croc Monsieur, enjoying puppets, parachutes, bubbles and books on our linguistic adventures. Sing languages together!

Shortlisted
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Overview

HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

Web presence

2011

Established

2K

Children/users

36

Countries
Organisation
For-profit
Target group
All
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
I’m delighted to see my own children (and others I’ve worked with) growing in curiosity about the languages around them. Being linguists is becoming part of their identity, which is wonderful.

About the innovation

Join the little language revolution!

What we do?

Babel Babies runs award-winning multilingual, multisensory music and story sessions, where parents (and early years settings) with children from birth to age 10 learn languages together. We have created a method of enjoying the language-learning process, and rather than focusing on attainment in a single language as in most monolingual methods, we explore the connections and human transactions between languages. This gives everyone the metalinguistic skills to learn any language, and in turn helps with literacy in English too because it raises language awareness. Our online early-years languages course is available worldwide, and our multilingual music is available for download on Spotify, iTunes, etc. and we have a carefully-curated selection of language-related products and picture books in foreign languages available in our online shop to support families and settings wishing to create a multilingual environment.

Why we do it?

Founder Cate Hamilton was a secondary school French and English teacher and had experienced the apathy that teenagers showed towards learning anything at all about languages if they didn't see how it related to them directly. And then, as a new mum, she saw that babies are primed and ready to absorb language from birth. However, as an English-speaking family in the UK, it felt unusual to speak French to her new baby and since Cate also speaks Italian and Portuguese, she wanted to transmit a love of all these languages. Together with Ruth Ahmedzai, a German, Russian and Arabic to English translator, she came up with the idea to explore lots of languages and Babel Babies was born. After lots of research to work out whether babies will get confused when exposed to multiple languages (they won't!), we are now confident that singing languages is a brilliant way to foster a love of languages in young children, and builds confidence in adults to explore languages too, even if they are not linguists or native speakers. Everyone is somewhere on the language-learning journey and you can learn languages together, making the process explicit to children.

Media

As the online course progresses our multilingual mascot, Croc Monsieur, will take you on a journey around the globe learning songs in a range of languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Welsh, Norwegian, Russian and Japanese. You can map your progress with the beautifully illustrated Babel Journals complete with collectable stickers that celebrate the languages you have tried, and skills you are learning.
Languages are a passport to the world. They open our eyes to our planet’s geography, history, music and stories, while filling us with curiosity and building self-confidence.Babel Babies weekly video sessions provide a supportive and fun environment where your little ones will learn and explore languages with you as their guide. The videos are an invitation for you to play together, and bring a little bit more language into your daily routine.
You are never too young (or too old!) to learn languages together. Introducing languages from birth mimics the language acquisition process, since babies are all learning language from even before they are born. Make languages part of your family's journey together!
Explore the world with our mascot, Croc Monsieur! Puppets bring the languages to life for the children, so they understand that languages are for communicating and they get real-time opportunities to practise.
Linking geography, human history and languages helps children contextualise their learning *about* languages, as well as learning the languages themselves.

Implementation steps

Make a multilingual playlist

You can find the Babel Babies playlist on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, or any other digital music provider.

Join our online course

Join the Babel Babies online community and start your language adventures today, wherever you are in the world!

Build a babel bookshelf

Make a collection of books in lots of languages, and read languages together. You can find tried and tested picture books on the Babel Babies Bookshop here. We regularly read stories online in different languages in our Babel Tales series of videos. Find stories to enjoy together on our Facebook, YouTube and website. Many of the stories are available in our shop.

Play with languages

You can use flashcards in interactive, innovative ways or for display to create a multilingual environment. Find ideas for multisensory games and toys in our online store here, including wooden Arabic building blocks, graphic-designed flashcards, instruments, memory games and multilingual posters.

Create a language-friendly environment

Take every chance to explore the globe through the food, songs, books, cultural activities, modelling little snippets of language (How do we say hello to Santa in Finland? Let's find out!) and creating a multilingual environment where children feel excited to go out exploring, either physically or figuratively, and come back with their linguistic treasures. The world is your oyster! You can find lots of ideas on our Pinterest here.

Learn languages together

Children are inspired to emulate what they see others doing around them, and there is no judgement from them if you are seen to be learning too. In fact, it inspires them to learn and be confident about making mistakes because mistakes are a key part of the process. Just have fun with languages, show your working out, enjoy the slip-ups as much as the times when your pronunciation is perfect. Don't be afraid to have fun, and the children will too.

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