The three ‘R’s

La Gidg has just turned six, and is in Primary One at school. This is big stuff and has brought with it the beginnings of homework. I’ve been trying to instil discipline into my daughter: when she has homework to do it is done immediately before any fun stuff like playing with the cats or watching the evil ‘Tiny Pops’ on the T.V. In order to get around this she has been known to do her maths and Catalan homework in the car on the way home. Job done, right? Wrong. As this leaves me with my own personal mission for my darling girl that of learning to read and write properly in English. We do the bedtime story every night with mixed success. Some nights it’s a walk in the park, and other times it’s a total disaster ‘I don’t WANT to read it, I’m TIRED’. Okay, point taken, and we don’t push too hard. Let’s face it, she is learning to communicate in three languages simultaneously, but I do worry that her English reading and writing skills won’t be up to much unless I persist.

So I was very happy to meet Julie Staley from Kip McGrath Education Centre recently and get to know about her tutoring business which is based in Son Rapinya (at the Son Quint Golf Course). Contrary to some reports Kip McGrath is not a language school, in fact my husband said exactly that, ‘Oh isn’t that the language school?’ (An emphatic NO from Julie).  In fact, as La Gidg and I discovered last weekend it’s a place for kids to go throughout the week to improve their English, and their maths, as well as also offering support for Catalan and Castilian homework demands.

‘Mummy, what are we doing here?’ ‘The lady said that she had heard about how good you are at reading, writing and maths, and she wanted to meet you’ I bluffed, not wanting to say that I thought we might need a bit of leg up to get her reading in English up to speed. I shouldn’t have worried about whether Gidg would enjoy the session though as she was made to feel right at home. She loved the worksheets, the conversation, and the bespoke interactive games on the computers.

The outcome? As expected she needs a bit of help with reading in English, when she’s not being coached by her doting mama she struggles with the ends of words (let’s nip that in the bud then), but she aced the maths. So, off we will trot to Kip McGrath every Saturday morning for the next month, to see if we can get on track. I think I will learn as much about helping Gidg as she will about the pronunciation of English. But the last word should go to her: ‘Gidg what did you think about the place we went to on Saturday?’ She flips her hair and looks at the ceiling (when did my six year old enter her teens?), ‘It was cool, I got to play games on their computer’. Well, as they say, learning is easy, unlearning is hard.


Find out more about Kip McGrath here: http://spain.kipmcgrath.com/Centres/Mallorca/Mallorca-Centre-Details.aspx


  1. This is fascinating. I have three children, ages 10, 5 and 3 when we arrived on the island 6 years ago. I was very worried about their English language development for a long time and when my middle daughter was around 6 (now 10) she spelled words in English phonetically as you would in Spanish. For example she would write mi instead of me! etc. However after speaking to several friends who are teachers in the UK we persevered with the bed time story approach and we did lots of reading (not easy with the demands of homework in schools here!), Eventually she got the hang of it and can now spell any word you ask her to. I think Kip McGrath is a fabulous concept and will be a great help to us English speaking Mummys.
    I am on the South East coast though so probably would have been too long a trek for me anyway. Good luck to all the clever multi lingual kids and Mummys too!!

    1. Hi Emma – well we live at the completely opposite end of the island to you – in the SW tip so treking to Palma is not my most favourite thing to do either, however we have been going for a couple of weeks now and the response I have had from my little girl is very positive. She is very motivated to learn and we praise her a lot for all of her efforts – we’re also stupidly proud (i.e. we are so proud we get a bit dumb about it) of her ability to communicate fluently in three languages. She’s a very lucky little girl to have the opportunity, as are your kids too – so I think all the anxiety and extra effort will ultimately be worth it as the world will benefit from our children being able to move smoothly from one language to another! Will write a report about how she is doing in a couple of weeks time. Thanks for reading my blog, and thanks for the comments! vx

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