A space between home and preschool
Amanda loves her pre-school teachers, Hector and Carolina. They have taught her songs in Portuguese and Hector always says good morning and high five to Amanda in Spanish. Amanda speaks Spanish with her mum at home but English is her dominant language.
Towards the beginning of her second year in pre-school, Amanda started begging her mum not to speak Spanish to her at drop off and collection times because “Mammy, this is not how we speak here”. Amanda’s mum, Marta, was caught off guard by Amanda’s comment.
“I really didn’t expect that reaction from Amanda, especially when her teachers were so open about different languages. I thought ‘where did she get this embarrassment from?’ I didn’t know what to say and what to do. I felt sad”.
Amanda attended a series of Language Explorers multilingual workshops with her mum in Tallaght library and she loved the arts, crafts and storytelling. During these creative workshops, every parent is invited to speak their home language with their child to strengthen their bond through play. At first, Amanda was observant of what was happening around her. When she saw her mum was speaking Spanish to her and other parents and children were speaking different languages and it was all okay, Amanda eased in and got really into the craft making.
“About a week later at bedtime, Amanda said to me: ‘mamá, I have two voices!’ I couldn’t believe the impact that speaking Spanish at the Language Explorers workshops had on Amanda. It was amazing to see the change in her: from shyness to pride in such a short amount of time.”