Language Explorers Workshops

Language Explorers is Mother Tongues’ award-winning language awareness initiative for primary schools. Language Explorers activities are designed to raise awareness of linguistic diversity in the classroom and in the community and to promote an interest in language learning.

Language Explorers has been designed to:

encourage children to embrace all languages positively

nurture children’s understanding of linguistic diversity in the classroom and in the community they live in

enable children to build on prior knowledge and experience of language and language learning

encourage children of different languages and cultures to be proud of and to share their heritage

Our programme Language Explorers has been selected as one of the most impactful and scalable innovations in education for the HundrED Spotlight on Parental Engagement!

selected for hundred parental engagement spotlight logo

Through interactive games, art-making, singing, storytelling and story writing, children become aware of their own language abilities and learn something new about each other and about the people who live in their local communities. Mother Tongues deliver Language Explorers Workshops all over Ireland.

Language Explorers was one of the nine projects awarded the 2018 European Language Label Awards! Dr Francesca La Morgia collected the awards from Minister of Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD at a ceremony in Croke Park Conference Centre on behalf of Mother Tongues and Canal Way Educate Together.
The European Language Label is coordinated by the European Commission and in Ireland is managed by Léargas. The label recognises outstanding achievement in the teaching or learning of languages. European Language Label awards are prestigious and presented at a public ceremony in September each year. 
Do you have a class where children speak different languages? Do you teach a group of curious children who are keen to meet people from all over the world, hear their stories and open up their minds? Then you are ready to host a Language Explorer!

Our facilitators are native speakers of Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Swahili, Xhosa, French, Spanish, Portuguese and many other languages! They bring their knowledge of their own language, as well as their ability to engage classes in the exploration of the languages spoken by pupils through games and activities that are fun and engaging. 

A typical session lasts the duration of a lesson. Children get to hear about the facilitator’s story, some facts about the place they come from and about their mother tongue. Most facilitators are artists and/or qualified school teachers from abroad, and they all have plenty of experience working with children and working in Irish schools.

Depending on the facilitators’ skills and interests, the sessions can range from rap writing, to painting, from singing and storytelling to architecture and model making. They are designed to complement the Primary Language Curriculum goals and they focus on the celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity.

All the activities, games and stories are aimed at encouraging children to use their own mother tongue, as well as Irish and English, and to learn something new about the languages spoken by the children in their class. 

We do our best to match your class with a facilitator from a linguistic background of your choice.

We recommend booking a minimum of three sessions for the children to get to know the facilitator and to reap the benefit of the use of the mother tongue at school. The three sessions could take place over three consecutive weeks or three months.


What people say

We love the Language Explorers programme! It draws children's attention to languages in the environment and gives them the opportunity to explore language in a creative and fun way. For children who are bilingual or multilingual, it gives their home language a status in the classroom, it brings their language into everyday learning. The children further develop their sense of pride in their language and love to share it with others. For our staff, the workshops model good practice and help them to see that sharing home languages is positive, enriching and most importantly, very easy to do!
Éadaoin Kelly
Principal, St. Mary's Primary School, Dublin
Thank you so much for the really wonderful set of workshops you did for our school yesterday. The children thoroughly enjoyed their time with the ‘Language Explorers’ becoming aware of the variety of different languages spoken in our classrooms and being encouraged to embrace all languages positively! The teachers gave really great feedback and were very happy with the standard of the workshops and the level of involvement of the children. Everyone really enjoyed the day. Our school will definitely be in contact with you early in the new school year to discuss further ways we can collaborate with you all.
Aileen Lyons
Stanhope Street Primary School, Dublin