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Every Kid Deserves the Chance to Learn and Grow

Pair these FREE educator-developed printable activities with your favorite Encantos videos, books, and songs to help your child develop critical reading, writing, math, and social emotional learning skills. Plus, check out our Tips for Grown-ups to help reinforce the teachable moments in each lesson.

Oct 08, 2021 -

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Los Pollitos Dicen: The History of the Classic Lullaby

For generations, mothers have sung the Spanish lullaby “Los Pollitos Dicen” to their newborns. The simple, yet powerful lyrics of this lullaby tell the tale of newborn chicks ( “pollitos”) calling for their mother when they are cold or hungry. The song has permeated culture so deeply that today it is common for Latina moms to refer to their babies as “pollitos” as an homage to the song.

Perhaps it’s the thought of fluffy yellow chicks with eyes half closed, stumbling about, peeping for help that makes the song so endearing. Or perhaps it’s the image of the mother hen kneeling down to envelop her chicks under her wing to keep them warm, that makes the song so sweet.  Whatever the reason, this story of newborn love will always be the perfect song to lull a baby to sleep.

Many lullabies and nursery rhymes have been around for so many generations that we no longer know who wrote the original. For years, the author of “Los Pollitos Dicen” was also unknown. It was writer Rienaldo Marchant who stumbled upon the identity of the songwriter during his time teaching language and literature workshops in Pichidegua, Chile. It was there that a local farmer pointed out to Marchant the home of Ismael Parraguez, the author of this now classic song.  

After some research, Marchant was able to confirm that Ismael Parraguez, born in 1883 in the Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins region of Chile, was indeed the original author. Mr. Parraguez first published the song in his book “Poesías Infantiles” or “Nursery Poems” in 1907.

The song quickly became popular not only in Chile but across all of Latin America.  Generations later, it’s been translated into English, French, Portuguese, and many other languages.

And just like a mother’s love for her “pollitos” is ever-lasting, so “Los Pollitos Dicen” lives on for generations to come.    

You can find these and other children’s songs on our YouTube children’s channel, which includes many videos to foster bilingualism. Los Pollitos is also available in book form, to read to children any time of day.

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Ask a Bilingual Expert

Raising a bilingual child? On this page, our very own Director of Learning Design and Efficacy, Sophia Espinoza, addresses some of the most common questions, concerns, and curiosities around the benefits of bilingualism. Get the scoop below!

Sophia Espinoza is a career educator and curriculum designer with seven years of experience teaching in private and independent schools across the country. She is an expert in 21st-century education, including technologically-powered personalization, multilingual and multicultural curriculums, and social-emotional learning.

Sophia began teaching in Chicago Public Schools through Chicago Teaching Fellows, learning to support both English Language Learners and students with neurodiverse needs. Among her proudest accomplishments is launching the AltSchool Spanish Immersion Program, with the mission of creating bilingual global citizens who are socially conscious and environmentally aware. Sophia holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and M.A.Ed. from Dominican University.

Benefits of Bilingualism (FAQs):

Any advice on managing two Spanish dialects in the household? Does this cause confusion for kids?

What do you recommend if I’m not completely fluent and my child’s school doesn’t have an immersion class?

Do you recommend teaching different subjects in different languages? For example, the solar system in English and the days of the week in Spanish? Or is it better for kids to try to learn in both languages all the time?

We speak Spanish and English in our home but my child almost always answers or talks back in English. How can I go about encouraging her to respond and speak more in Spanish?

Should I set aside time or create activities for each language or is it okay to mix them both together?

Any advice for households where one parent speaks Spanish and the other English? Can this be confusing for children?

How can my child learn language through play?

What are the social and cultural benefits of bilingualism?

What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?

What are some strategies for raising bilingual children?

What are some common misconceptions about raising bilingual children?

What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?