Lorraine Crean visits our group in September

On 9th September we had our first official meeting of bilingual families, and I was delighted to host a special guest, Lorraine Crean, who talked about her dual language books project.
Lorraine worked for many years a primary school teacher in Roscommon, and she always believed in the importance to bring the home languages into the classroom.

Her dual language books project aimed to involve children and families in the production of written texts in the languages spoken at home.
As Lorraine explained, this activity helped to reinforce the children’s language and literacy skills, but more importantly, it triggered conversations about the parents’ home country, about their extended families, and about other experiences. Producing books in two languages (English and Polish, for example) not only helped children in the development of reading and writing skills, but in some cases it also helped some of the parents to learn new English words.
But the positive impact of such project is not only visible at an academic level: families who see that their language is valued by the school and by the classroom teacher receive a positive message about the value of diversity and the importance of fostering the home language in the primary school years.
During our meeting, parents had the opportunity to look at some of the books produced by the children, some of which are available here.
We loved meeting Lorraine and being able to hear about how she went about producing the books and it was great to be able to see the finished product.
The really fantastic thing about the books is that the teacher does not need to be able to speak the children’s other language. Parents can help the children to write in their home language, and the activity of translating from English or into English will trigger some really interesting discussions and deep reflection on the differences between different sounds, or the ways in which each language expresses a given concept.
No wonder this project received the European Language Label, an award given by the European Commission to innovative language projects!
Watch Lorraine’s video interview on our YouTube channel here.