International Mother Language Day

February 21st is International Mother Language Day. This day, organised by UNESCO, is to raise awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multiculturalism. Living in a multicultural society gives our children a great opportunity to learn about different cultures and languages. Plus, it’s important that children realise the advantages of being able to speak other languages.

‘Hello, my Name is…’

If you have speakers of other languages in your class, why not ask them to show the other children how to say, ‘Hello, my name is…’ in their language. You could also use our labelled world map to show which countries the children’s families come from. It might be nice to have them bring in a dish of traditional food for the other children to try too.

Languages for the Future

We are, of course, very lucky to have English as our native language. If it was not, it is likely that we would be learning it as a second language. It is, afterall, the official language of 83 countries and spoken in a further 105 other countries! But, what other languages would benefit our children? Well, two of the other most widely spoken languages are French and Spanish, so it would be good to teach basics in these languages too. You could start by splitting the class into two and giving each group the task of creating a display with the basics on it, such as numbers one to ten, colours, fruits and veggies, words for family members. We have all the art supplies you need to create the display; I’d suggest:

poster roll – for the background to the display

lightweight white card – to write words on

paints or crayons – to create pictures of everyday objects, such as fruits and vegetables

glue – to fix the word cards to the background

blu-tack – to fix the poster paper background to the wall

fruit and vegetable templates

letter and number templates

family stencils

This would make a great on-going project. You could learn numbers one week, fruits the next and so on.

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