想让您的孩子从小跟美国妈妈学英语吗?

 

Want your kids to learn English from an American mother?

078

这位美国妈妈叫YiShaun Yang,中文名字是杨怡祥,在得克萨斯州出生,在加州出生长大。怡祥的儿子和我女儿在纽约是幼儿园同班小伙伴。初次见到怡祥时,她和同为美籍华人的先生说英语,而夫妇俩却对孩子讲中文。后来得知他们的中文都是在美国中文学校学的,为了孩子能在语言敏感期接触中文,家里规定,对孩子只说中文。想想我们在国内练英语,没有环境开口讲有多为难,不得不佩服怡祥夫妇的决心。怡祥说一定要趁孩子处在敏感期,多让他接触不同的语言。

This American mother is named YiShaun Yang (Chinese name is 杨怡祥), and she was born in Texas and raised in California. YiShaun’s son and my daughter were classmates at a New York City preschool. When I first met YiShaun, she and her fellow Chinese-American husband spoke English, but the couple speak Chinese to their children. I only later learned that YiShaun and her husband learned Chinese while growing up at Chinese School on the weekends. Because they want their children to learn Chinese while their children are still in a brain developmentally language sensitive stage, they decided to speak only Chinese to their young children. Think back to when we learned English in China and how difficult it was to practice English in a primarily Chinese environment, and therefore how admirable it is that YiShaun and her husband have such determination to teach their children Chinese in America. YiShaun said she especially wants to take advantage of her young children’s language sensitive phase to expose them to different languages.

后面令我惊讶的事接二连三。怡祥不止一个孩子,还有另外两个一岁大的双胞胎,也是男孩。我颇为震惊:做三个男孩的妈妈,是怎么一种体验?

And then I found out something even more surprising. Besides having one preschool aged son, YiShaun also has one year old identical twin boys.   I am quite shocked: what is like being the mother of three young boys?

我见到的怡祥,是每天早上化好精致的妆容、穿着摇曳的长裙、笑意盈盈送大儿子上幼儿园。我不知道操心三个孩子生活和情绪,还能美丽动人是怎么做到的。她说,第一要培养孩子各种学会独立的好习惯,第二要留足够的时间照顾妈妈自己的身心。

Every morning when I saw YiShaun at our children’s preschool, she would be prettily made up, wearing feminine long skirts, and happily with her son as she sent him to school.  I have no idea how she juggles caring for three young sons while also looking poised and lovely.  She told me that first, it’s important to teach children how to be independent, and second, to leave enough time to take care of yourself.

_MG_3702

我在美国生娃养娃,中美两边的育儿观念都在学习,怡祥是我了解美国育儿方式最好的桥梁。因为她的华人背景,她更懂得我在东西方观念冲撞时的矛盾。从她这里,我学到了如何处理孩子犯错误,如何帮助孩子说出自己的情绪等等,更有我没听说过的各类省时省力的育儿神器,她主动分享给我。(这些经验和技巧,以及心路历程,改天另开一系列和大家分享。)

I delivered my baby and am raising her in the United States, and I’m learning both Chinese and American parenting philosophies.   YiShaun’s parenting philosophies are the best method I’ve come across to bridge the two. Because of her Chinese background, she understands the contradictions I come across when parenting ideas from the East and West collide.   From her, I’ve learned how to deal with when children make mistakes, how to help children express their emotions and so on.  I also heard all kinds of time-saving parenting tips that she would share with me. (Her experience and tips, as well as her philosophies, can be shared some other time in a different series of articles.)

IMG_9787

我起初以为怡祥是全职妈妈,问她结婚生子之前做什么,她说是律师。原来她拥有哥伦比亚大学的法学博士学位,25岁开始在纽约执业,专长是公司法。她说她当律师看合同是一把好手,连合同正文某处多一打个空格都能一眼察觉。但是怡祥辞职并不是因为孩子。她说她一直有一颗创业的心,某一天在律所加班到深夜,突然觉得要顺从内心的呼唤,律师这貌似光鲜却重复的工作不是她想要的。

I initially thought YiShaun is a full-time mom and asked her what she did before she got married and had children, and she said she was a lawyer. She holds a J.D. / law degree from Columbia University, and she was 25 years old when she began practicing corporate law in New York City. She said she had a lot of experience looking at contracts, to the point where she could even quickly tell if there were two spaces behind a comma instead of one space. But YiShaun did not stop practicing law because of her children.  She said she had an entrepreneurial dream, and one late night in her law firm office, she decided to pursue that dream.  Being a lawyer may seem glamorous to others, but she felt it was repetitive and not what she wanted.

每天,在大儿子上幼儿园,保姆带俩小儿子的几个小时里,她便会抓紧时间扑在自己的创业计划上。怡祥的公司只有她一个光杆司令,公司的全部资产来自于她当律师时的积蓄。她说她喜欢这样有创意也有意义的工作,比起当律师,她更加自由。她说她对物质的需求少了;对事业本身的热情成为她的支撑点,多一个人点击她的网站就会令她兴奋不已。创业的几年间,她自己写过系列儿童书籍、开发过时装手机应用,设计过首饰珠宝。从一个外行做起,自学市场营销、上各种创业培训,了解产品设计和市场需求。

Every day when her oldest son is in preschool and their nanny watches the twins for a few hours, YiShaun takes advantage of this time to work on her business.  YiShaun is the only person in her startup business, with all the startup investment coming from her savings from when she was working as an attorney.  She says she likes being entrepreneurial and finds it to be more creative and meaningful, and that she likes the freedom. She says as a result of pursuing her dreams, she now doesn’t rely on materialistic things to give her life meaning since she is following her entrepreneurial passion.  With each additional person who visits her website, she feels excited and fulfilled.  Over the last few years of her entrepreneurial journey, she has written a series of children’s books, worked on a fashion app, and designed jewelry.  Starting on her own as an entrepreneur, she has self studied marketing, entrepreneurial and business principles, and learned about product design and market demand.

2012-05-06 Baby Shower Team Yang Onesie

最近怡祥萌生了一个新的创业想法,也源自她作为母亲的亲身感受——她虽然不断坚持跟三个儿子讲中文,但中文不是她的母语,发音不够准确,很多词汇也不熟悉;她常想要是有母语是中文的人来教孩子多好。反过来她想到,中国的父母会不会希望地道的美国人来教孩子英语呢?我告诉她,外教教英文在国内很受欢迎,但是价格不菲;而且需要家长周末或者晚上陪孩子上课,时间上也是很大的付出;老人或者保姆陪着去的,家长又很难参与和见证孩子所学。她问,如果以网络或者手机应用作为平台,教小朋友纯正的美语,会不会对家长有帮助?

Recently YiShaun had a new business idea that stems from her own experience as a mother -- She continues to insist on only speaking Chinese to her three sons, but because Chinese is not her native language, she feels her pronunciation is not accurate enough, and she’s not familiar with many words.  As a result, she constantly thinks how nice it would be to have native Chinese speakers teach her children Chinese.  Conversely, she wondered if Chinese parents would want native-English speaking Americans to teach their children authentic English?  I told her that English classes are very popular in China, but they are expensive.  Also, extracurricular classes require parents to take their children to classes on the weekends or at nighttime, which is a big time commitment.  If the grandparents or a nanny took the child to English classes, then it’s really hard for the parent to participate and see what their child is learning.  She asked me that if families could access authentic, American-style English classes online or via mobile app for their children, would that be helpful for parents?

怀着这样的想法,她创建了“美妈英语”。“美妈”,既是指“美国妈妈”,怡祥做出了足够用一整年的英文视频识字卡片。用妈妈和蔼可亲的声音、纯正的美语和可爱的图片,教宝宝说单词。视频卡片的目的是让您的孩子足不出户,跟美国阿姨学英文。一天的简短课程围绕一个核心单词,每天可以体会孩子的收获。

This is what led to the creation of “Mama English.”  “Mama English” which stands for American mom, is one year’s worth of video lessons YiShaun put together for Chinese toddlers to learn authentic, American-style English.  With an American Mom or Aunt as the teacher speaking sweet, caring native-English, and with cute illustrations, Mama English teaches your child how to speak English.  The Mama English short videos let your child learn authentic, American-style English from a real American Aunt from the comfort of your own home.  The short daily video lesson focuses on a core word, and every day you can see your child progress.

这套视频卡片针对两三岁的宝宝。这个年龄的孩子正处在语言能力飞速提高的阶段,对新的发音和单词尤为敏感。小小的脑袋意识到有其他语言的存在,同一个物品在中文和英文里分别有对应的说法,这对孩子而言无疑像踏入了另一个世界。

These English video lessons are designed for children ages 2-3 years old.  Children around this age are at a key language development stage, particularly sensitive to new words and sounds.  Their brains are able to understand at this age that there are different languages, and that the same item can have one name in Chinese and another in English.  Exposing them to English now is like letting them experience another world.

如果您是家长,这样的儿童英语工具,您家会用得上吗? 我试用的第一个反应是,我家肯定用得上!我自己在美国学习工作了十多年,语言还算流利,但是我不敢教女儿英语。先生常常感叹,女儿从幼儿园学回来的英语,发音比我俩不知地道多少倍。把怡祥的单词卡片打开,我都有一种跟着大声念、矫正自己发音的冲动。有这样的英语学习工具,爸爸妈妈陪孩子一起念,也可以让孩子自己边玩边学。

If you’re a parent of a small child, would this type of English learning tool be useful for your family?  My first reaction when hearing about Mama English is that my family could definitely use it!  I’ve been studying and working in the United States for ten years, and I’m fluent in English, but I still don’t dare to teach my daughter English.  My husband often laments that the English our daughter has learned in preschool is many times more authentic than the English we speak.  When I listen to YiShaun’s English video lessons, even I automatically want to repeat after her and correct my pronunciation.  With this kind of English learning tool, parents can spend time with their child to help their child learn English, and your child can also learn English on their own by using the app themselves.  

“美妈英文”即将推出,想了解更多内容,请点这里:(insert link)

To learn more about Mama English, you can read about it here.

您对孩子学习英文有什么需求?您有什么育儿的困惑和问题,想知道美国家庭如何处理吗?怡祥毕业于哥伦比亚大学,她的先生毕业于哈佛大学,现在是心脏外科医生。他们在养育三个儿子的过程中有很多育儿理念和经验想与您分享。欢迎加入他们的邮件列表:

What kind of needs do you have when it comes to your child learning English?  Do you have any parenting questions or conundrums and wonder how American parents handle them?  YiShaun and her Harvard heart surgeon husband are raising their three young sons to be future international leaders and would like to share their parenting philosophy and tips. Please sign up for their mailing list here: