A conversation in our kitchen...
Daughter: "Amma? So Appa is Tamil?"
Daughter: "And you are a Malayali?"
Daughter pauses thoughtfully, then exclaims, "That means I'm a TAMALE!"
My dear daughter gets full credit for that joke, but it nicely sums up the challenge we were facing. How could we teach our children native languages? This is complicated by the fact that we don't even speak each other's languages and that we don't have extended family nearby to support language immersion. How could we fit in time for language immersion or have the discipline and consistency to teach the kids?
We tried looking for language apps, we scoured YouTube, we looked for in person and virtual classes. Each option fell short, with the following drawbacks:
- the app was designed for adults and wouldn't hold a child's attention,
- the videos were geared towards learning the script of the language and didn't have English translations or subtitles,
- the videos included animated characters that were not representative of South Asian kids;
- the virtual classes were boring, not well taught and not inclusive to different learners; and
- the in-person classes were too far to drive and would require a whole day commitment.
So we took a leap and decided to just make it ourselves. BhashaKids was born!
"Bhasha" and its variation means "language" in almost all South Asian languages. Our goal is to help kids learn South Asian languages through English and grow multilingual families. We aim to make resources in 10 languages!
We have created study aids (flashcards & worksheets) for kids (ages 2-10 years) to learn basic vocabulary and engage in simple conversation. These English based flashcards are Mom-designed: laminated, printed on high quality paper, with rounded corners and durable to withstand kids. Representation matters: the images are carefully curated so that kids can see themselves in the pictures. We also are a distributor for several indie authors who have created bilingual picture books in South Asian languages.
The products are designed to be used by a native or proficient speaker, to aid in language immersion and are easy to fit in to a busy schedule. This can be a great activity for grandparents to engage with the grandkids, to promote language learning in a fun way, pass on culture, and create quality family time.
ANITHA & Family