My name is Mariko Nozaka. Both of my parents are Japanese and they moved to Mexico after they got married. I was born and raised in Mexico. My husband is German. I speak Spanish, Japanese, German and English. I have lived in Mexico, Canada, Japan, Germany and USA. My husband and I have lived in USA for almost 12 years. We have two sons (6 and 9 years old) both boys. We are trying to raise trilingual children (Spanish, German and English). I hold a Masters Degree in Intercultural Communication from Germany. I worked in Germany as a trainer in Language and Intercultural Awareness. I have taught Spanish for adults many years. Besides Spanish for Mommy and Me classes, I currently teach Spanish at various preschools and give bilingual story times at local libraries.
As a child, I was in a Japanese-Mexican School and I remembered my parents really pushing me to learn Japanese but it felt obligated and therefore refused to learn Japanese. As the years went by and I matured, I realized that my parents were giving me a tremendous opportunity and advantage in life and I learned to appreciate it. I lived in Canada, USA, Japan and Germany and participated in different internships and tried to learn the language there. I want to give my children the same opportunity my parents did to me.
It is proven that children can learn a different language when they are young, therefore I have chosen to teach Spanish and German to my children since they were born. From day one I sang them, talked to them, read them stories in Spanish and German, and I still do. No matter what I have to do, no matter how much patience I will need, no matter how much work will it take, I will want my children to speak Spanish and German fluent. One day I hope that my children are grateful and appreciate the gift of language that I have given to them. NOT an easy process, it takes a lot of patience, discipline and work. However, I strongly believe that encouraging your children to learn a second or even a third language is a priceless gift that any parent can give to their child.
My idea of Spanish for Mommy and Me started when I was looking for a Spanish or German storytime in the area for my kids and I found none. So I started to do bilingual Storytimes at the local library and then I started to give classes in daycares and preschools. I think I have a mission in life which is I want to encourage all the children around me to learn a second language, to enjoy learning it, to appreciate it and to embrace it. I lived in Germany and I saw that European children speak at least two languages and it is normal. They encourage children to learn two or three languages since they are very little. Another reason for me to start Spanish for Mommy and Me was that as a working mother, I know how hard it is for us to find time to do something WE enjoy as we often put aside our needs and make our children our top priority. These classes are a way where you can combine a hobby for your little one and a hobby for yourself as mommy or as caregiver. So not only your little one learns Spanish but also you as mom/caregiver learn something too. I love teaching Spanish to children and adults and that is why I decided to do this Mommy and Me class. I love to see children having fun with their mommies learning something new together. It is a pleasure to see that this beautiful activity such as learning a new language is a wonderful bonding activity for mommies and children.