From Language, To Love

As a hispanic kid growing up not fluent in Spanish, I had a lot of insecurities surrounding that part of my identity and it didn’t help that in school, a predominantly white school, I was never exposed to the conversation about cultural differences, including language. A funny thing that happened a lot of kids with backgrounds like me was being pulled out of class and into an ESL class, despite English being our first and only language.

My project sort of addresses this lack of resources and exposure of these ideas in early childhood education, specifically in American schools. My primary audience would be children who have already started learning to read and learning language comprehension. It would be something that young monolingual English speakers could play, to introduce these ideas to.

I’m working on a card game that teaches not just cooperation but empathy among young players and sets up a space for the larger conversation about cultural differences. A card game is a pretty relaxed response to this larger issue and it’s important to me not to talk down to kids or simplify for the sake of making it easier for adults to explain. I’d like to expand the project to something that works in classrooms and provide digital tools as well, for the adults who will be involved in supervising this. Concerning gameplay, because love, empathy, and cooperation are important to include for me, I’m thinking of having english and spanish cards that players use to build letters, or stories for each other. With the ultimate goal being something I’m still deciding upon. I also want to create some sort of challenge or ‘plot’ just to make it more engaging.

There’s a lot of research on children’s learning capabilities being far greater than adults, because of reasons like their brain's elasticity and so on. It’s an important time for them socially and emotionally, to be learning these ideas. There are studies that show infants as young as 6 months perceive and develop preferences for race, depending on the exposure to other races during that stage of life. By kindergarten they are already including race as a social factor in how they interact with other children.

Below are some pictures of me as a kid, and one with my mom. I think alot of kids that struggled with the same things I did could really benefit from this conversation early in life. That's what I'll trying to be accomplishing with this project.