International Language Learning with Animals

Explore the Ocean with our Sea Animals Theme

All Carousel classes are currently adapted for our Online Program, which faithfully recreates Carousel’s signature warm, engaging experience.

Visit to find out more about theme-based learning Carousel style, and how we’re bringing the whole Carousel world right into your living room with our unique new remote program— specially designed for infants, toddlers and young children. 

Summertime makes us dream of the Sea...

With summer travel more limited than in most years, many families are taking a “staycation.” But that doesn’t mean we can’t go exploring!

This week we’re highlighting one of our favorite early childhood themes—and it’s a perfect antidote to hot, sticky days because it’s all about the cool blue OCEAN. 

We’ll dive deep into Carousel’s beloved SEA ANIMALS theme—and meet a leggy octopus, some cute little fishes, colorful starfish, playful dolphins, fantastical sea horses, majestic whales, and more!

Read on to find out more about how we teach foreign languages through early childhood themes and play-based, multi-sensory learning.

Bon voyage!

Drawing While Learning Languages

Carousel of Languages is a foreign language program for infants, toddlers, and young children, with a special focus on the most crucial language learning window: 0-3 years.

Carousel Teaching System®, our research-backed, full-immersion curriculum is based on experiential learning through verbal, visual, and tactile association. Our enchanting environment is designed to engage the senses and spark curiosity—inspiring children to become eager lifelong learners!

Language Learning Aides
Carousel of Languages Fish Fun

Research demonstrates that social interaction is one of the most important factors in language acquisition for very young children. In infancy, positive early experiences actually mold and shape the developing brain. 

That’s why a warm, nurturing environment is vital to what we do at Carousel

From the moment a child walks through the door of Carousel, we put all the focus on that child. Our young students enter an atmosphere that is not only perfectly tailored to them, but magical, inviting, and full of love. Teachers and staff know each student personally, and greet them each day with affection and enthusiasm.

As we work and play with your child, we aim to impart not only the demonstrated intellectual stimulation and educational advantages of early foreign language exposure, but the joy–and the wide variety of benefits associated with experiential, multisensory, play-based learning.

Our style and structure help children take important steps in social-emotional development, including self-regulation, and an understanding of group dynamics, such as learning to take turns and share. Children quickly get to know their classroom, their peers, and the order of activities. Developing routine is a vital part of school-readiness.

Every class incorporates listening, speaking, learning through play, singing, early logic and math, storytelling, and art.

While routine and repetition are important, so is variety! Teachers use many methods to present captivating content. We support time-honored early childhood themes with an exciting array of carefully selected, high quality props and exquisite custom-made teaching materials.

Language Learning Fun

Children love the SEA ANIMALS theme! Especially when it’s introduced by some of our favorite puppets—baby octopus, red fish, and crab—in our full-immersion language classes.

“Hello, I am an Octopus! I live in the Sea. What’s your name?”
says the puppet, in the target language.

Students take turns touching and hugging the octopus and introducing themselves.

“I have many legs,” says the octopus.

“Do you have legs?”


“How many?”

“One, two. Two legs!”

the children say, counting their legs.

“Let’s count mine!”

says the octopus, and the children count up to 8.

“I have many friends who live in the sea.
Let’s learn the sea animals together!”

says the octopus.

Children repeat after the teacher.

“This is a fish. Watch the little fish swim.
Who lives in the sea?”

“A fish!”

“Who else lives in the sea? This is a dolphin. He’s very friendly. Say hello to the dolphin!”

Carousel Teaching System® adapts seamlessly to every age and level, and teachers have a wide variety of activity options to meet the needs of each student—hand-held props, felt board, magnet pieces, flash cards, velcro boards, subject cards, and more.

Play is a key element in learning at Carousel, and all of our themes incorporate many games.

With younger students our teachers create an ocean scene using light blue and dark blue veils, seaweed, and creature props. We “travel” to the beach, or the aquarium, or on a boat to go fishing. We name each sea animal as we take it out of the basket and place it within the scene. Students love using a magnetic fishing rod to “catch” their favorite creatures. They’re prompted to use new vocabulary to talk about what they’re trying to hook—fish, shark, turtle, and more.

Older students play games that require them to use description and provide explanations in the target language, “Whose turn?” “It’s my turn.” “I got a pair!” etc., improving listening comprehension and conversational skills through enjoyable, natural interaction.

Then it’s time to move our bodies and sing one of the beautiful Carousel Sea Animals songs, such as the classic Italian tune, “Animali del Mare”. The lyrics review theme vocabulary, and corresponding actions represent each animal: crab, seal, penguin, seahorse, shark, dolphin, turtle, jellyfish, octopus—SPLASH blub blub blub…! Our Sea Animal action cards feature illustrations of animal-related poses.

Carousel of Languages School in China
Language Learning Puzzles

“Les Petits Poissons” is a beloved French song for children, with an evocative melody. It teaches that little fish swim just as well as big fish… and everyone can swim together!

Another favorite is “1, 2, 3 Sea Animal Let It Be!,” a version of a popular Russian game, which can be played with many themes (from farm animals to transportation) to support vocabulary memorization through verbal repetition and movement. Students “freeze” in a Sea Animal pose. The teacher then touches each student to “unfreeze” them and let them move and show their animal while trying to guess who’s who. If the teacher guesses right the student takes a turn, counting and trying to guess the other childrens’ poses.

Fishing While Learning International Language Lessons

After we sing and move, we come back to the table. Our beautifully illustrated, custom-made Carousel Teaching System® matching, memory, and bingo games are another effective and fun way to practice new vocabulary. Children perform logical thinking activities such as sequencing, tracing, counting, matching, solving labyrinths, and finding patterns, developing cognitive and fine motor skills as well as reasoning. 

Each class concludes with a themed art project, which organically reinforces knowledge gained through class activities while offering more fine-motor practice and encouraging creativity.

After our goodbye song, each student takes home their beautiful, unique art project and an illustrated vocabulary sheet to show their parents what they learned at Carousel today. Have fun practicing together!

We know you’ll be hooked on our enchanting holistic, early childhood foreign language program—and our captivating themes.

Carousel of Languages Learning in China
Foreign Language Learning by Association