For Latino parents in the US who want to teach the Spanish language and Latin culture to their kids at an early age, there are not that many options via the digital way to achieve that goal. Nowadays, when technology has become a fundamental piece of education across the nation, more applications should be made to either supplement educational material or use them as stand-alone software to provide effective early childhood skills and vocabulary. Fortunately, a new mobile app is available to fill this digital void.
Based on a children’s TV show seen in Latin America in the 1990s, the educational app Juana y los amigos de la granja, a Spanish-language educational platform, made its debut last March with the purpose of teaching Spanish vocabulary and other essential skills to kids up to 5 years of age. The creator of Juana La Iguana, Tania Gilinski-Seidl, brought the TV character to life with the support of Amanda Quijano (executive producer) and Anita Katz (music producer) as founders of the new app.
The new, easy-to-use app teaches preschool children to choose certain color (as kids choose a color, they learn what the things they choose are called, like apples, corns, pineapples, broccoli), give stars to friends (drag stars to whoever carries the right color), help find friends (identifying and matching kids and animals), help count friends (count the number of animals or friends in Spanish), and “choose a song and dance with me” (which includes traditional Spanish-language children’s songs). Associating words and pronunciations with colors is what makes these mini-games outstanding.
When in-game but not playing, kids get to listen to some moral advice such as returning something that does not belong to them, “it’s always good to say the truth,” and “always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.'” No other educational app that I’m aware of provides both moral values and education skills in one app.
Overall, the app just doesn’t teach kids to learn and memorize 50 words in Spanish by recognizing, matching and counting, it motivates kids by recognizing their positive skills with congratulatory messages and a reward at the end of every round with a song and see Juana dancing, before starting over. In other words, Juana La Iguana is bringing instructional, cognitive and motor skills, as well as moral values and fun for preschool kids, via the digital world.
Besides the app, parents can also purchase 12 traditional Spanish kids’ songs with Juana La Iguana.
I recommend you to bring the entire family to play some mini-games together with the kids and to sing with them the traditional Spanish-language children’s songs. The little kids will be glad you are having fun with them.
The app is currently available free of charge on the Apple App Store.
For more info, visit http://www.juanalaiguana.com.
To download the app (for iPhone and iPad): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/juana-la-iguana-en-la-granja/id974731637?ls=1&mt=8.
By: Alberto Saldamando @