Keep Up German in Summer Holidays

How can I be sure that my child continues to learn?

Deutsch lernenThere are 3 ways to ensure that your child continues to keep up their German language abilities during their 3 months of summer holidays. From the end of May to September 2nd, there is no formal German School and those 12 weeks that can lead to the so-called “brain drain”. To prevent this, it is important to have a plan, and one that will work even while on a plane, train or in an automobile. These are all things you might already know, but may not have implemented yet.

a. Hear German – Ideally, your child should have an opportunity to have a conversation with a native German speaker on a daily basis, but if this isn’t realistic, you can offer them opportunities to watch German Shows on YouTube, such as “Nesthaekchen” (, Trotzkopf (, Hanni & Nanni, ( or for younger children, “Die Sendung mit der Maus” (, or Sesamstrasse deutsch ( You can also organize playdates with German-speaking children, although this can backfire, and your child child might teach them English instead. There are also a few playgroups here and there who meet at the beach during the summer. As soon as I have some more information about these, I will let you know.

b. Read German – I would like to point out that the Vancouver Public Library downtown has a German section on the main floor. The library is located at: 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, B.C. (604-331-3603). There is also the Facebook Page: Germans in Vancouver, where there are over 150 German-speakers connected, that may be able to direct you to where to find German books. The St. Mark’s Church has a major Garage Sale at least once a year, and finally, the German Schools often go through their books and offer sales. There is also the Goethe Institute, but they are located in Toronto and you would still have to pay for shipping, which makes it rather expensive.

c. Experience German – Going directly to Germany, Switzerland or Austria is ideal, but for those who can’t do it, you can “find” local the German Community – there are choirs seeking younger member (Concordia or MGV Lyra), there are still one or two German Churches with German Sunday Schools. There are German Restaurants, such as the Bauhaus and the Vancouver Alpenclub. Finally, you could try to volunteer at the German-Canadian Care Home. Surround your child with German-speaking people. Becoming Intergenerational is the key to your child being immersed in the German Community – so many children of immigrants don’t have their grandparents or extended family living nearby and really miss out interactions with older adults.

When I was young, we had the opportunity to watch German Movies at the Hollywood Theatre in Kitsilano. They would actually get the “reels” mailed in from Edmonton. This way we had the chance to watch fairly “modern” flics. But now, even with YouTube, Netflix and ITunes, there are some movies that have blocked direct access and we just can’t get them from here. So, if anyone is going to Germany, please bring back Hanni und Nanni Part 1, 2, 3. (

Otherwise, I would like to offer a “Learn German by Rote Class” where I offer the basic verb conjugations of “Ich will, ich muss, ich darf, ich kann, ich soll, ich werde, ich mag, ich habe, ich bin, ich moechte, along with the past tense variations etc. $5 an hour with a maximum of 10 children for ages 8 to 14.

If anyone has any ideas, or if you would like to sign up, please comment in the space below or call 604 828 8788.  Sometimes the old-fashioned way is the better way to learn. At least in summer time.

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