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Little Pim

Little Pim

Shaping Children into Global Citizens through New Languages

Little PimPresident and CEO, Julia Pimsleur Levine, founded Little Pim, an amazing children’s language program specifically designed for children between the ages of 0 and 6.  Compared to other children language programs on the market, Little Pim is specifically designed for this age range by introducing language when their minds are the most sponge-like and most likely to absorb and retain a foreign language.  “At Little Pim, we are excited about launching a generation of little language learners for whom speaking a second language is fun and exciting. We work with leading early childhood educators and two professional language advisors on every language in our series. We also spend countless hours pouring over our materials to ensure they are high quality and educationally appropriate for our young audiences,” Julia says.  If you did not already know, Julia is the daughter of the widely renowned Dr. Paul Pimsleur, creator of the Pimsleur method.  Language learning was always important in her family.  An award-winning documentary filmmaker and mother, Julia shares, “Working on Little Pim has connected me to the work my father did and allowed me to pass on my love of languages to my children and bring language learning within reach of millions of children around the world.”  Little Pim’s first products were introduced in 2008 and have since won 25 awards and changed the lives of both parents and children around the world with their fun and effective children’s language program. 

Julia was raised speaking French and English and when her son, Emmett, was born, she looked for easy ways to introduce him to French, in addition to speaking and singing to him. When she was unable to find a high-quality, comprehensive introduction to foreign languages, she realized thousands of other parents must be in the same situation, wanting to get their kids started on learning a second language at the time they learn best.  As a result, Julia was inspired to launch Little Pim and created it to fill that gap in the market.  Julia studied Film and Women’s Studies for her undergraduate degree at Yale as she was always interested in how media can be a positive force for social change.  After graduating, she moved to Paris for seven years, where she attended the French National Film School and made social issue documentaries.  After earning her M.F.A degree, Julia spent three years making films in Paris, and later returned to New York to start her own film production company.  It is no surprise France is her favorite country as she lived there as a child and loves the French culture and food.  Julia still visits every year with her family.

Little PimLooking at the specifics and what makes this language program so effective is Little Pim’s Entertainment Immersion Method® which combines animation and real kids engaged in everyday activities.  Each 35-minute DVD is segmented into 5-minute episodes to accommodate a young child’s attention span and encourage pausing for parent interaction. Simple sentences are broken down into easy-to-understand parts, and reinforced through repetition and strategic recombining of words and phrases.  Each 3 DVD set teaches 180 words and phrases.  Currently, Little Pim offers Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, English, English Spanish, and Portuguese.  For our Editor’s Pick, we selected the Chinese Deluxe Gift Set that comes with 3 DVDs, a plush Little Pim panda, Little Pim tote bag and flashcards for $74.95.  We chose Chinese because background wise, my daughter is half-Chinese and we want her learning a language that is a part of her culture.  Mandarin is one of the most widely spoken language in the world and given China’s economic and business growth, learning Chinese would be beneficial for her in multiple ways.  The DVDs in this set are Eating and Drinking, Wake up Smiling and Playtime.  Putting the DVDs to the test and after playing the Eating and Drinking DVD for our two year old for a week, she was easily able to say common words such as fruit and apple in Mandarin.  She was definitely engaged in the DVDs and enjoyed watching children mimic real life while repeating the words in Mandarin.  Some words may take longer than others to sink in, but I have no doubt that my child will learn the words if I expose them to her daily. 

Little PimThe big question on every parent’s mind is whether watching language DVDs will actually successfully introduce children to learning other languages.  Scientific research has proven through many widely published and cited studies that young children can learn multiple languages with ease before the age of six years.  During the first few years of life, the brain is actually hard wired to effortlessly absorb new words and develop a native accent. Unfortunately, we lose this ability right around age six and from then on it gets harder each year to learn a second language.  Julia says, “That’s why it is so important for parents to start exposing their child to a second language at a young age, even if it’s just a few hours a week. It will make learning new words and imitating the accent so much easier for their kids later in life.”  Little Pim recommends parents start even before the child can speak as listening will help the brain’s neuro-pathways stay open to the sounds of languages other than their mother tongue.  The success of Little Pim speaks for itself as the evidence on the Testimonials Page (littlepim.com/testimonials) features countless families learning languages with Little Pim.

As a Pimsleur, Julia stands behind her product as she personally spent two years creating the Little Pim series.  She took her time because she had seen her parents create the popular Pimsleur Method of language learning and knew she wanted Little Pim to be as high quality and long lasting as the Pimsleur Method.  Over the two-year research period, Julia worked with a renowned neuroscientist from the Rutgers Infancy Studies Lab, Dr. April Benasich, and recruited award-winning filmmakers and animators, as well as a team of educators and two fluent experts for each language.  They filmed over 200 kids for the Little Pim series and spent six months editing the series to come up with their 6-DVD series.  Everything was also filmed in High Def so it looks crisp and great on the big or small screen.  Julia shares, “One of the first things we often hear from parents who buy Little Pim videos is that they are very pleased with the high quality. That makes me very happy as we spent a lot of time, money and effort to ensure parents would have an outstanding product for their kids.”

Little PimParents will often ask for the best method of introducing Little Pim to their kids.  Little Pim strongly believes that one is never too young to learn a second language.  Julia explains, “With this in mind as a parent, you know how important it is to constantly challenge your child’s mind during the crucial stages of early development.  Little Pim’s educational products are designed to help your child flourish.”  For babies (0-12 months), a baby’s brain is prewired to absorb the unique sounds of different languages and can learn up to three languages simultaneously with ease.  Since babies also love watching other babies and young children, the videos feature young kids engaging in everyday activities.  Little Pim also offers music CDs and multilingual board books to help reinforce the vocabulary featured on Little Pimtheir DVDs and digital downloads.  For toddlers from 2-4 years old, children being acquiring their first 100-300 words in their native language and can also start repeating simple words and phrases in a second language. Toddlers who watch Little Pim episodes begin to engage in a “call and response,” which is how a child begins to learn a language from his parents and those around him.  Little Pim also offers hand-drawn word and phrase cards that allow parents to create fun and engaging games for their child.  And using the Little Pim system for older children from 5-6 years old, they can learn up to 360 words and phrases in a second or third language because kids at this age will enjoy watching the DVDs and playing with flash cards. 

Julia says, “We are trying to make it possible for new generations of young children to become global citizens.  If you want your child to take part in our global economy where foreign language skills are increasingly in demand, you don’t have to hire a nanny, or pay for a language classes.”  Parents should not have to wait for their child’s school to start teaching them in elementary or middle school, when the learning window has already closed.  Parents also do not have to speak the language themselves because they can simply help their kids learn by just using the Little Pim system.  “We hope this will get kids started on a lifelong journey of second language learning and global adventures!” she adds. 

Julia has big plans for Little Pim as the company is on a very big mission in transforming how children learn a second language around the world.  They keep track of all language requests and try to produce the product in the languages most requested.  Most recently, they released Portuguese in digital download format.  She says, “Before Little Pim, there was no affordable easy way for parents to be their child’s first language teacher and to help them start learning at the age they learn best. We are so proud of the millions of kids who have gotten started learning a language with Little Pim and are excited to see where their languages will take them, on the world stage and in our global economy.”

Little Pim is available at major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Toys R’Us.com, Diapers.com, Amazon.com, and over 1000 book, toy and gift stores in U.S.  They also have digital partnerships with iTunes, LeapFrog, Playaway, One Laptop per Child and PBS.  Be sure to visit the Little Pim website at littlepim.com for all their products.  You can also visit littlepim.com/blog for a free fifteen minute trial and a 20% discount on all products purchased from the website.

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