Blog

Posted on June 13, 2016

Kids & Happiness: Reflections of working with preschoolers in Kenya

Kids & Happiness

I don’t have kids. So it’s possible the next 882 words you’ll read can be judged as nothing more than opinions from a person only cares deeply for kids and respects the parents who’ve signed up to raise them. That said, I have spent nearly the last decade working with thousands of children from newborns to age six and have witnessed countless families in their quest to raise happy and healthy (and usually bilingual) beings. I’ve had the honor being invited into the intimate weavings of families who are: big, small, close, across borders, rich, poor, inside the States, outside the States, white, black, brown, yellow, mixed, gay, straight, organic, not so organic, monolingual, bilingual, trilingual, and then some. And by now I see there’s an intention by the majority of parents to make their kiddlets as comfortable as possible. And, they’re doing their best to ensure …

Posted on July 17, 2014

The World Cup and New York’s Global Community

This month, please welcome our guest blogger, the one and only Šara Stranovsky, our outstanding Assistant Director. She has eloquently shared her ideas about this year’s glorious World Cup.

The World Cup!

The 2014 World Cup brought on a range of feelings this year, from heated social debate to impassioned wins and losses.  From the get-go things were heated; socio-political questions were raised about the priorities of government spending and stadium costs in Brazil… then drama ignited on the field with referees’ close calls, players’ graceful scores, and “field theater” in the form of over-the-top somersaults and injury-knee-grabs. Aside from the political, socioeconomic, and soccer-specific happenings that occurred as part of the World Cup, we can also reflect upon some of the community-building aspects of the games that took place off the field, and right on the streets of New York and Brooklyn! The World Cup, for some people, became …

Posted on June 26, 2014

UPK: Free School for Four-Year-Olds!

Change is coming. For a long time now, I’ve been a firm believer that women will make 70 cents to the male dollar until there is a viable equitable childcare option in this country. Think about the changing shape of today’s average family- you might find a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, just a grandmother, single parent, sole parent and on and on. I often observe the miraculous population of working single moms and fixate on how they manage to make it all come together. If you are building your career, who will take care of your child? And if you are taking care of your child, how will you build your career? That is, if you can’t afford a team to help you. Or imagine a dual parent household where mom may have given birth to her first baby right after completing her medical residency and is …

Posted on April 24, 2014

The Happiest Birthday

I’m 31. But when I was of bilingual birdie age my mom used to throw the best birthday parties for me. On a budget of course, but each year seemed to have topped the next. Once we even had a backyard carnival complete with face painting by our neighbor, bobbing for apples from the Iranian market, a tie-dye shirt making station, and a handmade piñata.  That year, I was officially on the map! Friends were talking about that party honoring my 5th spin around the sun for months to come.

A birthday can truly be a special ceremonious time when you are a child (and frankly, I believe in the beauty of going all out even while on the 3rd floor and way beyond).  It’s a time to give yourself a solid pat on the back for beating the odds and making it yet another 365 days on this glorious …

Posted on February 13, 2014

Learn Languages, Make Friends.

El Dia del Amor y la Amistad in Latin America is the Day of Love and Friendship. That’s right, friendship. We all know about the cheesy chocolates, roses and cards that Hallmark drags us into, but let’s take a moment to honor the people who are there through thick and thin—our amigos.

I don’t have kids yet but when I do I definitely want to create a space for them to make as many friends who are different from them as possible. It’s so important to embrace diversity from early on. When little kids learn to respect each other regardless of background, it gives way to limitless opportunities to grow up as aware human beings. I think about my first grade class where I sat next to Quintella, a shy African-American girl. She would tell me about Kwanzaa and I would tell her about Passover. Throughout the year we’d share …

Posted on December 5, 2013

Introducing…Our Manifesto!

The holidays always have me thinking in a more warm and fuzzy language. On November 21 I completed my 31st spin around the sun, followed by Thanksgivukkah and with Xmas and New Year’s right around the corner, I’ve pretty much instilled gratitude as my preferred attitude.  I finally put paper to pen (well, fingers to MacBook) and transmitted why we do what we do, every day. Introducing… our manifesto! What do you think?

With love (and gratitude),

Sarah

Posted on August 4, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why Bilingual Kids Rock!

Being bilingual opens your mind

Showing off your Bilingual Birdies skills on the playground sure is fun, but check out these Top 10 Reasons Why Bilingual Kids Rock to learn how being bilingual benefits your kid (and you)!

We recently had a lot of fun sharing this list and hearing everyone’s reactions and stories on our Facebook page. What do YOU think?

Reason #1: Your bilingual kid is healthier! Studies show that knowing another language reduces stress and anxiety in children.

Reason #2: Did you know? Bilingual kids have greater attention and thinking skills, because their brain’s ‘executive functioning’ is more active. Make …

Posted on May 1, 2013

An Open Letter from Sarah to YOU!

 

It’s now six years since I started Bilingual Birdies. As I sit in my office on the 18th floor of 120 Wall Street, I am profoundly humbled by all the steps it’s taken to arrive here. The last six years in New York, in the United States, and really in the entire world have been challenging for so many, especially anyone trying to start a business. It is with immense pride in my heart that I can say we’ve been triumphant so far and I see mountains full of success in our future. Just a few words on the trek up…

Sho is one of those original hipsters. She’s my Armenian friend from UCLA and transplanted to NYC around the same time I did. Sho is the first person I told my business idea to when I was only twenty-four. We were at dinner, which she paid for because …

Posted on February 21, 2013

My Mexican Mom Goes to Kabbalah Class in Farsi

My mom (pregnant with my brother) hanging out on a rooftop in Tehran circa 1973

“Sarita, you light the candles. Make your wishes. One for you, one for our family, and one for the universe. Shabbat shalom. (Insert tight hug and kiss on forehead here.) En el nombre de dios todo poderoso.” This was the start to every Friday night in my mock U.N. home when I was growing up. It usually led into a pretty large-scale dinner party production with friends, family, and neighbors for a feast marking the beginning of the day of chillaxation in the Jewish religion, aka Shabbat. Listen, we def didn’t take any of the religious stuff too seriously. But among the reliable and glorious staples were: homemade hummus and tortilla chips, khoresht eh badamjoon, and great people with interesting stories. Throw in a santur player and some cumbia music every now and then and …

Posted on January 22, 2013

Indonesian Imagination

I came to Indonesia for a three week break over the holidays. With one month under my belt into my entrance on the third floor (I just turned 30) I was overly giddy about my solo expedition. I showed up to yoga class in Ubud, Bali and was naively confused to see a herd of identical yoga chicks all 29, 30, and maybe 31 in the same American Apparel shiny black leggings ready to twist, bind and invert all of 2012 out of their systems. Ok so Ubud might be a bit overrated and not as authentic as I dreamed. I decided to switch my focus from a self-discovery journey via yoga to a self-discovery journey via whatever was willing to propose itself.

My dear sweet Iranian father tried to not have higher than normal blood pressure for the duration of my stay abroad. Each Skype call the same: “How …