Lelu was founded at Stanford University and our mission is our dream: to make bilingualism a vibrant part of every American child's life
Learn more about our founding story on the Media page and get the details on our approach below.
The Truth About How Languages Are Acquired
Many people believe you can teach a language the same way you teach any other number of skills. The reality is that studies show us that language can’t be “taught” and “learned” the way we typically teach and learn-- languages need to be lived and, in living them, they are acquired.
Acquisition of language happens when “we are exposed to samples of the second language which we understand.” (Pinter, list of references below) Studies show that bilinguals who experience the cognitive benefits attributed to bilingualism use the second language in their daily lives: "their lives [include] two languages, and their cognitive systems therefore [evolve] differently than those of monolingual[s].” (Bialystok)
Ordinary experiences can accumulate to have significant impacts on cognitive networks. Thus, Lelu products and programming are designed to create conditions for individuals where life (our ordinary experiences) requires use of Spanish. Lelu Spanish + STEAM activities make natural encounters with the language a daily reality for families. We also provide a community network that encourages use and retention for the best long-term results.
We define bilingualism as life with two languages. Bilingualism is not a skill, but rather a lived experience and we help to make that lived experience happen fluidly.
A Parent’s Role
The research is clear-- parents play an important role in their children's relationship with language acquisition. One important thing parents can do is to create shared-attention opportunities for their children to engage with the target language. That’s where we come in-- we create meaningful topics of conversation and activities to draw your children into wanting to listen intently, engage with, and reply back to what they're hearing. Here are our top tips for parents:
- Make it fun. If you're having fun with it, they will have fun with it! Lucky for you, Lelu makes it easy to have fun with bilingualism!
- Value Bilingualism and Be Intentional. Be mindful that people’s attitudes and intentions are often at odds with their actions. (Guardado) Embrace the target language as the asset it is and stop considering it cumbersome baggage. (Lee and Wright; Shin; He) Studies have repeatedly shown that kids have no problem with confusing languages-- bilingualism is only ever a value add. (Bialystok and Krolls)
- Embrace Bilingualism Daily! Make sure to live the values you’re hoping to imbue in your children by enjoying and embracing bilingualism yourself daily!