A Spanish Teacher's Experience With Time and Place Method

A Spanish Teacher's Experience With Time and Place Method

As we've taken the time to dive into the four most popular bilingual strategies in our four-part blog series, Corrie Wiik, mother and founder of Llamitas Spanish® Curriculum, shares her own insights on the Time and Place plan in hopes to help other parents navigate this strategy.

Time & Place is the bilingual parenting method that my family has been implementing for several years now. As the name suggests, it involves choosing specific times and places to speak the target language as a family.

It works best for our family profile: my husband speaks very minimal Spanish (mostly Spanglish he's picked up from growing up in California, but he sure knows how to order the best tacos!). I am a non-native speaker too, but fluent in Spanish as I worked in Spain and have a Masters degree in Spanish.

We tried “Minority Language at Home” (MLAH) for a short while, but I have learned that navigating life in two languages can have an emotional impact on children. Diandra Morse, LCSW from @bilingualplaydate coined the term “the invisible mental load of bilingual children” which really resonated with me.

We decided to stick with the Time & Place strategy, as it allows my family to connect more naturally with our children. It’s a very personal choice and every family profile is unique.

If you choose to use the T&P strategy, it's absolutely crucial that you establish a solid plan (otherwise Spanish can slip!) For my family, this looks like establishing simple, but highly effective, daily routines: such as reading aloud daily in Spanish, listening to podcasts in the car in Spanish, leveraging screen time (apps and TV shows) for language acquisition. More recently the musical books by Binibi have been a huge hit in our home- songs are powerful language acquisition tools!

Of course a huge part has also been following a structured, open-and-go Spanish curriculum like Llamitas Spanish®.

Time & Place also relies heavily on outsourcing, mostly for native speaker input and real life context. Now, while outsourcing may raise alarm bells ($$$), there are affordable options out there. Check for Dual Language schools in your area, Spanish immersion community groups (in person or online), library classes etc.

Over time with the consistent Time and Place input, you will find that your home language begins to evolve to a mixed language strategy. Now that my children have had several years of Time & Place, they are very mixed in their language use at home which I love.

My website is dedicated to supporting families learning Spanish and you'll find plenty of free resources there to get started, as well as our academic curricula levels.

Additionally, you can tune into my interview on the Bilingual Parenting Podcast with Kaila Diaz from Bilingüitos where I share more details about our Time & Place strategy.

This blog post is guest written by Corrie Wiik, mother and founder of Llamitas Spanish® Curriculum.