Is this system really effective?
Yes it is. This is the system that use millions of students in countries like Sweden, Holland, Portugal, Estonia...all of them countries with better results in the UE language studies on learning foreign languages.
Can they watch tv in their native language i.e. when they are on a friends house?
Assuming that at their home there is only the possibility of watching content in English it´s the key because it´s there where most of their tv time will happen. However, it´s no problem if they watch content n their native language; Spanish, French...on their grandpa´s or uncle´s. Zapatoons must be kind and natural on developing, we shouldn´t generate tension or troubles around it. Being "too extremist" in the use of Zapatoons will create a tense ambient difficult to maintain over time plus, from a linguistic point of view, it has to be avoided creating a negative emotional filter.
My son spends few afternoons a week with their grandparents, what can I do so he also watches videos those days?
If in the family routine, they spend time regularly at a family´s or neighbour´s home, we should include their mobile and/or their e-mail in the list of video receptors on the user´s profile, so they can watch them on a mobile or tablet. This way, if they are away a couple of afternoons per week at their grandparents´, they can follow the program. Ask about this.
Is it mandatory to watch all videos?
No, what´s essential is for them to perceive this as something fun and enjoyable rather than a chore. If they only watch some of them it´s fine.
What happens if I want them to watch more time than what´s available on the link?
From the web platform you can access previous days playlists to watch them again if necessary.
Will I fight my kid every day to watch them?
Our experience is that with 1 or 2 years old there is no resistance because they don´t have the knowledge that those videos can be watch in any other language, they accept naturally that reality.
Little by little they will start understanding gradually and within the context, it will be easier to keep their attention and watch the playlist fully.
3 or 4 years old already had the experience of watching tv in their native language; Spanish, Euskera, Catalan, etc...so they will claim to watch them in their native tongue. That´s the moment where you have to relay kindly but sternly, that there is no other option and if they don´t want to watch them, they can play, draw or do anything else. Leave the playlist reproducing in the background so they will come and go to it while doing other things. As days pass by, in two or three weeks, they will accept naturally that that's the only reality possible and they´ll watch them without any problem.
In no case you should force them or worry about it, the process has to be natural and without any tensions for them or the family.
My daughter/ son says he doesn´t understand and quits watching them, what do I do?
It´s all right. Let the playlist run and tell them casually that they can start playing, drawing or any other activity. they will start with something else and come back to the cartoons every now and then. If they understand that there is no other option ( watch those videos in their native language or simply watch TV) they´ll accept that reality.
This can´t be a stressful situation or perceived as tense. In the end, it´s just a playful occasion for them ( even though we know that they are learning)
Why don´t we just watch TV in English instead of using Zapatoons?
Watch TV in English would render a similar effect on the long run but there are many linguistic, pedagogical or just practical reasons that made this just advisable as a B plan and not as an everyday solution.
First of all, not all cartoons played by the different networks are suitable for your children. Some of them make learning harder from a linguistic point of view. Moreover, some series are advise against by many experts for children ( i.e. Doraemon, Bob Esponja,...) or even for all but adults ( i.e. Shin Chan) because of their violence, sexist roles, violence against women, abuse situations, bulling, etc...
To prove this point, here you have a recent study on this topic:
Also, over 40% of the content of any cartoon network is usually from non English speaking countries ( Japan, France, Italy...), so changing the language to "original" on the TV settings will make them watch cartoons on those languages as well.
How long will it take for results to show?
The language acquisition process ( and education in general) is a long term process, so you will perceive results in two years. In the short term, in months, you´ll see that they´ll watch the cartoons without any resistance and they will understand them in a global sense, attending to the context of the situations.
In two or three years you will start perceiving little details that will show learning; they play with toys in English, the school teacher will be surprise by their comprehension level, or they can start communicating in English using a mixture of languages, filling with words in their native language the holes in their English knowledge.
At mid primary level the gap between them and their classmates or kids their age will be clear to all and evident.
If you come to think about it, the process by which they learn their native language is really similar but a bit faster because the immersion is complete. Any kid passes through a "mute" phase where they are developing their comprehension skills, and after that they start articulating some words, so they don´t have fully developed complete oral capacity until they are two or three years old approximately, depending on the kid.
Zapatoons recreates that situation in the acquisition of a second language.
Is this enough to learn English or is also relevant what they learn by other means?
Falta texto...with daily and prolonged use, complemented with learning at school, the kid will reach a very high level and efficient communication skills in English.
At what age is it advisable to start?
The goal is to create the habit, without resistance, of watching content in English. This is really easy at early ages, when they get their first experiences with media, TV, mobiles, tablets, etc...so usually one year old is the ideal age to begin.
If they are two or three years old is relatively easy to start the process, but at this ages they have enough awareness of reality ( TV in their native language), so it makes it harder at the beginning but it doesn´t make it impossible at all. Just ask us about this!