A unique way of teaching
Founded by Mariana Leite and Bia Borinn (actresses trained in Performing Arts at ECA-USP) BPL provides a complete sensory learning environment. Our classes are for children from 10 months old on – even adults! Through practical activities such as music, dance, theater and sports, our students learn to speak, read and write in Portuguese.
Hundreds of students
We have already taught hundreds of students across Los Angeles and Orange County, producing events for the Brazilian community such as Festa Junina and Carnaval (in partnership with Brazilian Nites), as well as field trips to museums and other places. Now, BPL has students all over the world! Mariana and Bia performed at the PLH Congress at MIT – Boston in 2018 and are trained in the Online Training Course for Educators of Portuguese as a heritage language by the Organization Brasil em Mente (NY).
Brazilian Play and Learn (BPL) emerged when two Brazilian mothers (Mariana Leite and Bia Borinn), actresses and theater teachers, living in the United States, decided to create an initiative of Portuguese as a Heritage Language. Through working with what they love, they use art as an instrument to help to raise their own Brazilian children abroad, nurturing a deep sense of connection with Brazil.
Since the beginning of our initiative, the Portuguese language was not the only and main focus but creating opportunities for plural experiences for our children and students.
Another important goal is the close relationship that we set with the families. Our intention has always been to nurture the parents’ history, sharing memories of their childhood in Brazil so that they could play with their children. Many families do not know how to maintain the heritage language, as they do not know the tools to create opportunities for the maintenance of the language and culture. Our classes, through hands-on activities and games, become a chest of ideas in which families can rely on.
We encourage parents and give them the tools to be responsible for this dynamic as well. We remember traditional songs, stories, street games, folklore stories, fairy tales and typical recipes so then the whole family actually lives the Portuguese experience.
Obviously we are concerned with not spreading a stereotyped idea of Brazil, never presenting our country only as the land of soccer and Carnaval. We are committed to discussing what these Brazilian identities are, and what it means to be Brazilian since our country is so plural.
We can say that BPL uses cultural affectivity as an instrument for teaching Portuguese as a heritage language. The moment the child connects with the teacher through stories, music and games that are part of the Brazilian culture (and from his parents or one of them), he is “learning” Portuguese, even though at the end of the class he is speaking only three words in Portuguese, or not even that. Our focus, therefore, is not that our student knows how to identify subject, verb and predicate in a sentence in Portuguese, but that he knows that the Portuguese class gives pleasure, that the Portuguese teacher knows what he/she likes and respects their interests. And that being Brazilian is also very cool.