An Interview with Carla Curiel; CEO of Mundo Lanugo

Photo for Article: An Interview with Carla Curiel; CEO of Mundo Lanugo

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are working in collaboration with many women who are paving the way for dual language education. This conversation is incomplete without speaking with Carla Curiel, CEO of the incredible app Mundo Lanugo. We asked her about her background, and her passion for creating a platform for children to keep their roots.

It all started very personal at first. It started with my daughters. The second I became a mom, I had an urge to share with them our music, our stories and our values because I wanted to provide them with a sense of belonging and identity in their Hispanic heritage, because at times, I felt that life was going to make them feel like they are not “enough”-not Latino enough because they are born and raised in the USA, and not American enough because they are Latino.

Carla noticed that when she went looking for tools to help her raise proud bilingual and bicultural children, she could hardly find any materials. As part of Mamas Rising, Carla and her fellow parents felt that they needed to provide their kids these tools, because children need to know where they come from in order to be confident about where they are going.

So, to fulfill this mission of inspiring pride, confidence, and a sense of belonging, Carla found the best way to do it was through stories-stories that children love and stories where they could see themselves represented.

Therefore, Carla and her co-founder/husband, created Lanugo Media Inc., a bilingual family media company focused on creating culturally relevant content that promotes diversity and values through the power of storytelling and cultural wisdom, especially for the under-served Latino kids market. Via digital platforms, broadcast television content, publishing, live shows and consumer products that meet the child at different touch points.

Being a parent has shaped every aspect of this journey. My kids indirectly showed me the importance of identity and belonging, and it was because I became a parent that I ventured out into this space – mainly, to fulfill a parenting need that I personally had.

As a parent, Carla understands the tools that are useful to a mom in raising bilingual and bicultural children and can also understand the needs of children – their curiosity, their need to explore authentically without being “forced”, and their developmental needs. Every one of their products has been carefully thought out to help children learn skills necessary for their development, while fostering an understanding of culture, their identity and the Spanish language.

As for moms, she knew that she had to make sure to offer an array of media options including animated videos, educational apps, and live shows for them to choose from, and to make sure that it was easy for them to access because, as always, moms have way too many things on their plate.

Therefore, she came up with Mundo Lanugo: Juega y Aprende App, a culturally authentic, game-based app that through fun interactive games and imaginative play encourages children to explore the richness of the Latino heritage and the Spanish language.

Kids can explore a magical Latino-inspired world by moving their finger across the screen and interacting with the backgrounds/icons to find exciting surprises and 10 different game stops. The purpose of this app is to introduce the children to the culture and to awaken their curiosity, so that YOU, as an adult, can then expand further on the presented subjects. In other words, it’s meant to serve as a ‘window’ of communication to talk to your little one more about the Latino culture.

Continue reading to learn more about Mundo Lanugo…

Photo for Article: An Interview with Carla Curiel; CEO of Mundo Lanugo

Some of the topics that parents can discuss further and enjoy are:

  • Good manners
  • Latino sayings and their teachings
  • Latino celebrations such as Carnival, Day of the Dead, and the Three Wise Men, among others.
  • The adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha, renown Spanish literary character
  • Artists like Botero, Frida, Diego Rivera, Dalí, Picasso, among others.
  • Caribbean rhythms and musical instruments
  • Popular Latin flavor and dishes
  • Traditional games
  • Popular children’s songs in Spanish

It is a fact that children learn best by doing. So, the app makes suggestions that parents can put in practice to utilize the themes. For instance:

  • Cook together a rich rice pudding
  • Do a dance party to the beat of “La Cucaracha”
  • Teach your kid how to play the yoyo
  • Play dress up and celebrate carnival to the rhythm of drums
  • Recreate with your child the story of Don Quixote
  • Build a fun toy out of recyclable materials

The app is also an amazing resource and great practice for children in dual language programs at school that only have a basic/intro level of Spanish.

The app is important because culture is who “you” are-as simple as that. Our kids are a mix of both cultures, and so they should know both. We truly believe that our children need to know where they come from in order to be confident about where they are going. A strong and empowered self-identity is important for their future success and the way to achieve that is by understanding your roots, having a sense of belonging and acceptance to one’s self.

Carla hopes that one of the biggest benefits of the app will be fostering empathy. She believes that children that are raised in multilingual homes are more open to accept others because they have seen and have learnt to appreciate more than one culture (more than one truth). They can see that there isn’t a ‘right’ way to be, but rather a different way and that each one is beautiful in its own way.

For Carla, being bicultural is just as important or even more important than the second language itself because it provides children with a sense of belonging in their identity as ‘Americans and Latinos at heart’.

It’s been proven that there are many health benefits of having a bilingual brain, including better critical thinking as well as lower chances of Alzheimer’s in the future, and then there are the future implications for their job opportunities. The world is becoming more global every day so the more languages they speak, the better opportunities that our kids can have.

Carla hopes to be an inspiration to other moms looking to raise bilingual and bicultural children in the US by being an example of one. Her daughters are currently six years old and both speak, read, and write perfectly in both languages, and she plans to sign them up for a third language class (French).

Balancing a career and parenting is a challenge to everyone. Carla finds that she succeeds due to keeping her priorities in line, which doesn’t mean that her list of priorities stays consistent every day. Overall, she puts her family first, but there are certainly many times that as an entrepreneur, her venture has had to come first-like the launch of a big project, or during some peak periods. Other times, it’s her health or the health of a family member that comes first. To sum it up: Carla believes that it’s all about being conscious and mindful of which area of her life needs to be handled at a particular moment.

We thank Carla for pioneering the way for female CEOs and bilingual education. We can’t wait to utilize Mundo Lanugo to help students be both bilingual and bicultural!

Arthur Chou
Author: Arthur Chou

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