Educational Goals . Oh Noah! | PBS Parents

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Educational Goals

Oh Noah! introduces kids to collections of vocabulary words that are accessible, useful, and of interest to this age group. The videos also teach common phrases like "Please may I have?" or "I don't understand" -- that can give kids a leg up on learning a new language. The visuals and narrative provide the context needed for English-dominant viewers to understand what’s going on, allowing them to make sense of the language. Similarly, the rich contextual clues and use of cognates supports Spanish-dominant children in their learning of English vocabulary and useful phrases. Children’s identification with Noah as an emergent bilingual and his mishaps also provide motivation – the most important factor for success in learning a new language.

Kid-friendly vocabulary topics introduced in the videos and games include:

  • Animals
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Numbers
  • Colors
  • Vehicles
  • Playground equipment
  • Shapes
  • Insects
  • Construction equipment and tools
  • Toys
  • Pool items

In addition to language instruction, Oh Noah! models behavior that encourages development of:

  • Self-confidence
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity and imagination
  • Good citizenship

The Center for Applied Linguistics confirms that learning a second language at an early age:

  • Has a positive effect on intellectual growth.
  • Enriches and enhances a child's mental development.
  • Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
  • Improves a child's understanding of his or her native language.

Changing demographics in the United States make clear the importance of learning Spanish. According to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 34 million people age five or older. In fact, the United States is the world's second largest Spanish-speaking country, second only to Mexico.

As the Latino population has increased significantly in the U.S., so has interest in teaching children Spanish. That interest extends to Latino families themselves. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, nearly 65% of U.S. Latinos speak only English at home or speak it very well, and 95% say it is important for their children to know Spanish, too. 
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