Tag: Dublin

polish independence

Students Celebrate Their Polish Heritage And Roots In Honour of Poland’s National Independence Day

On the 11th of November 1918, Poland regained its independence after it disappeared from the map of Europe for 123 years. Even though we practically didn’t exist as a country, Polish people felt strongly about maintaining their language and culture and often risked their lives speaking Polish at home, reading Polish books, and setting up secret schools for new Polish generations. 

Polish Saturday School SEN

Reinstating the country was a long process which cost both time and the lives of thousands of soldiers who died in the many years of fighting.
November is a very important month for the Polish community who live in Ireland, Poland and abroad. Each year, 57 Polish complementary schools across Ireland, mark this special anniversary with a variety of events.

The pupils in one such school, SEN, located in Dublin 7, participated in numerous projects as part of the celebrations. Students from preschool level up to Leaving Certificate sang the National Anthem together and teams from older classes tested their history knowledge in a game of Kahoot. 

We also had a visit from the Polish comic book illustrator, Pawel Wyrzykowski who presented his work from the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and then led a history comic book writing workshop with a group of pupils. Younger children took part in some coding and at the end of the day, parents joined us for a 1918 metres run. 

Overall, it was a wonderful day that promoted awareness and pride in our Polish heritage and roots. Some people assume that attending school on a Saturday must be difficult for children and the teachers but as you can see in the video, it was actually a lot of fun! 

Agnieszka Matys Foley
Deputy Principal and Education manager
Polish Saturday School SEN (a Dream) Dublin 7

mother tongues

Great news for heritage language schools in Ireland!

The second conference on heritage language education in Ireland hosted by Mother Tongues took place on 2nd November 2019 in the Teachers’ Club.
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It was a very inspiring event, filled with informative talks and presentations of projects as well as hands-on workshops on teaching techniques. We hosted over 60 teachers and representatives of complementary schools based in Ireland. Some of the languages of the attendees included Lithuanian, Polish, Tamil, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Croatian, Russian, Portuguese, Italian and French.
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This conference, now in its second year, provides the opportunity for teachers to network, share experiences and upskill. Teaching heritage languages requires an incredible amount of dedication and creativity, as it consists of teaching language and literacy skills to children who often already have fluency in the language because they use it at home. It is different from teaching a first language, and it is different from teaching a second language, too! The real challenge that all teachers share lies in the diversity of skills of the students. In addition, children attend these classes outside of normal school hours, and teachers need to keep them motivated and passionate about the “extra work” required to develop strong literacy skills in the heritage language. Most of the teachers working at the weekend to support heritage languages do so because they love teaching and they are keen to children link to their heritage through language. Many of them teach on a voluntary basis and do so out of passion for their language and for children.
At Mother Tongues we know that heritage language teachers need ongoing support, so we have introduced a membership scheme which allows teachers to participate in three professional development sessions throughout the year. By becoming members of the heritage language schools network, teachers and schools join a group of like-minded people who are keen to network, upskill and share ideas and resources for heritage language teaching.
All information about this new initiative you can visit mothertongues.ie/for-heritage-language-schools
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Are we wasting our time with home languages?

Parents of bilingual children often tell me that the reason why they moved to Ireland is for their children to become fluent speakers of English. Sometimes I come across parents who avoid speaking their mother tongue to make sure that their children develop English to the best of their abilities. This week I met a dad who said that he didn’t make a conscious choice about language use in his trilingual family, things just happened naturally. His wife spent the early years with the child and spoke her language to him, the common family language was English, and his own mother tongue never had any role or space in the family life. Now his child doesn’t understand the paternal grandparents and needs the dad to act as an interpreter. While this didn’t seem to be an issue before, it is now becoming more and more frustrating for the child to have a conversation with the dad’s family and he is losing interest in talking to them.
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There are many reasons why parents in Ireland might choose not to speak their mother tongue to their children or might unconsciously slip into a habit of speaking English.
Some people have been advised against bilingualism by uninformed (usually monolingual) people who shared their own unfounded concerns about bilingualism. Sometimes people feel that English is enough. There is only so much time in one day. Mum and dad can speak English, after all. Teachers, friends and neighbours can all speak English, so are we wasting our time with home languages?
This question is flawed in many ways. Think about it. We know that children who go to libraries regularly end up loving books and, in turn, become skilled readers and do well in school. So we take babies to libraries to encourage them to enjoy reading because we know the effect that this will have on their future. We know that team sports are fantastic for children’s physical and emotional development. With this in mind, parents spend hours driving their children to matches and training sessions because they know the impact this will have in the short and long term. But when it comes to languages, do we take the same approach?
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You won’t be surprised to hear that many parents think that is more important for their child to do well in sports than to be fluent in the home language, a language that only a handful of people in Ireland speak. The truth is, to speak your mother tongue to your child you don’t need expensive equipment or refined teaching skills. You need time and dedication. You need to keep in mind that what you are doing has an incredibly positive impact on the child’s mental, emotional and psycho-social development. But why can’t your child just live with one language and get on with life like every other monolingual child in the world? Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. By not speaking their mother tongue to their child, parents have made a decision on behalf of their child. They have decided that their child should live without a part of their family history and identity. They have decided that this child won’t join in conversations at the dinner table with the extended family. They have decided that one language is more important than the other. And the truth is that the majority of these children are the ones who fill language classes as adults. They want to reconnect to something that has been missing in their lives.
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As I put her to bed, my daughter asks for a story in English. There is a book just there beside me, I can pick it up and start reading. I am tired, it will be easy for me to go with her wishes and not engage in a discussion. However, I remember that I am her only link with Italian right now and I owe this to her. I scan my childhood memories. I remember a story about a small orange that lost his mum in the fruit market. I don’t know why it stayed with me. It is a very simple story, but one that my mum “repackaged” in many adventurous episodes. As I start to tell the story she voices her disappointment. “Is this an Italian story?”. I tell her that this story means a lot to me, that her grandmother used to tell me the exact same story, so it is being passed to her now as a special gift. She goes quiet and listens.
I belong in two worlds, and it is like having two keys for two doors. My gift to my daughter is the key to my world and hopefully, this will lead to many more open doors and many language adventures in her future. 
Francesca La Morgia

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Courses for children with Spanish background

Courses for children with Spanish background

Instituto Cervantes is the largest international Spanish teaching organization in the world, established by the Spanish government to teach the Spanish language around the globe and to promote the Spanish and Latin American culture.

Courses for children with Spanish background

In September, weekly children and teenager courses will commence and will take place on Saturday mornings and afternoons in the Instituto Cervantes in Dublin, in Lincoln Place, just between Trinity College and the National Gallery.  Enrolment is now open.

Instituto Cervantes offers courses full of fun for children and teenagers with Spanish background, from pre-school to secondary school.  Participants will enjoy while improving their spoken and written Spanish in a friendly atmosphere where everyone can gain a new experience different from their daily activities.

These courses are designed to meet the creative learning needs of kids. Games, songs, multimedia, arts & crafts, science workshops, visits to the library, projects… will encourage children and teenagers to improve their oral and written communication skills. In these courses, the kids not only learn about the language but also about Spain and Latin America.
The teachers hold advanced degrees and are experienced professionals in child education.

To know more about our courses and timetables, as well as other activities organized by Instituto Cervantes in Dublin, please visit: www.dublin.cervantes.es

 

Mother Tongues festival shortlisted for prestigious European Award

Mother Tongues Festival 2019Mother Tongues Festival is the only Irish Festival to be shortlisted for the prestigious EFFE Award from the European Festivals Association in collaboration with the European Commission. 
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This biennial prize celebrates festivals that demonstrate artistic excellence and have a strong impact and local and regional development of cultural co-operation. Mother Tongues is delighted to join 23 great European Festivals in this strong shortlist. 
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“We are so proud to be included in this shortlist. The Mother Tongues Festival has only been running for two years but we have worked hard to create a festival with a wide range of top quality performances and workshops which celebrate the diversity of languages and cultures in this country.
The key to our success is constantly researching the most relevant and inspirational artists who can provide entertaining and informative interactions for our audience”.
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The winners will be presented during the EFFE Awards Ceremony in BOZAR, Center for Fine Arts Brussels on 26 September 2019.

EFA President Jan Briers is delighted to see that the EFFE Laureates 2019-2020 represent Europe’s diverse cultural scene and different disciplines from digital arts to opera. These festivals were selected from a list of 715 festivals with the EFFE Label which stands for festivals that are committed to the arts, their communities and demonstrate openness to the world. They are all presented together with more than 2000 festivals on FestivalFinder.eu, the interactive search tool for arts festivals in Europe.
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Along with the decision of the EFFE International Jury on the EFFE Laureates, the European Festivals Association is glad to announce EFFE’s Audience Choice. The online voting is now open on FestivalFinder.eu and allows audiences from all over the world until the EFFE Awards Ceremony on 26 September to cast their vote for their favourite festival from amongst the EFFE Laureates. 

To vote for our festival visit https://www.festivalfinder.eu/awards/effes-audience-choice-2019-2020

VOTE FOR US!

language_explorers

Story boxes in our mother tongues: a hands on multilingual literacy experience

Take a traditional tale that has travelled the world, build characters and props, and here you have a “story box”!
Now it’s time for you to enjoy telling stories in many languages, share fun moments and engage with the whole school community!

As part of the Language Explorers initiative, we visited a Junior Infants class in Dublin to create the opportunity for children to experience various languages and to learn more about one another.
We chose the Three Little Pigs, a very familiar tale, and we invited parents to take part in the project.
Parents joined their children in building the props and telling the stories in their mother tongue.

The discussions among the children were fascinating:

– “Look! I made a pig unicorn!”
– How do you say “horn” in your language?
– Rożek (in polish)
– Oh! like courgette!
– yeah! but it’s not the same /R/ (referring to the pronunciation of the r sound). I now know 3 ways to do /R/: English, polish and french!

Parents had fun telling the story in their mother tongue and for many, it was the first time they spoke their language in front of their child’s class.
The children heard the same story told in English, Irish, Portuguese, Japanese and French. This was a great opportunity for all children to be exposed to new sounds and words and to understand the diversity that their friends and the families bring to the school as an enrichment to the whole school community.
Children were delighted to share their heritage with the rest of the class and they were very excited to see their parents speak a language in school that is only usually spoken at home. The comments, the observations, the laughter, the attempts to imitate sounds and words allowed everyone to experiment with linguistic diversity.
It was a fantastic experience and we hope to be able to bring this initiative to more schools, so get in touch if you would like to bring this project to your school!
For more information visit www.languagexplorers.eu or contact education@mothertongues.ie

meet the speakers

New half day course for parents of bilingual children in Malahide

Do you have a bilingual child and many questions? Do you want to find out how to best support the home language alongside English? Are you a parent of a child in an Irish speaking setting? Then this course is definitely for you!
Dr Francesca La Morgia, researcher in child language acquisition and Karina Pereira, speech and language therapist with expertise in bilingualism will lead a practical course for families in Malahide on 18th May. This unique half-day course equips parents with the knowledge and skills they need to support the successful development of two or more languages in their children. The class is ideal for expectant families and for parents of children under the age of 6. Through small group discussions and exercises with videos and worksheets, parents will learn about bilingualism/multilingualism, how to overcome difficulties and how to support the development of their child’s languages. The classes have a limited number of participants to allow time for discussion and questions.
Mother Tongues is a non for profit organisation. All proceeds from this course will go towards Mother Tongues’s activities in 2019/2020.

meet the speakers

About the speakers

Dr Francesca La Morgia is assistant professor in Clinical Speech and Language Studies in Trinity College Dublin. She has been involved in research on child language acquisition since 2008 and she has published in international journals. After many years working in research and in the community, in 2017 Dr La Morgia founded Mother Tongues to share her knowledge and experience. Since then she has delivered courses on bilingualism all over Ireland to more than 1000 families.

Karina Pereira, speech and language therapist, graduated in speech-language disorders by University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), where she carried out research in child language disorders. She is currently working in Dublin with Brazilian families and their children through activities and workshops to promote bilingualism in Ireland. She also runs a project called “Brazil Clowning Project” that aims to connect children and the elderly through clowning, in a joyful and empathetic way.

You can click HERE to book the Malahide course via Eventbrite 

 

 

SummerCamp

Summer Mandarin Chinese Immersion Camp is now enrolling!

SummerCamp12th to 16th August 2019 from 10:00-15:00 at NWETSS on Putland Road, Bray.

Chinese curriculum will be ready as a leaving certificate subject for beginners/5th-year pupils in Sept 2020 and pupils can take Chinese as a leaving cert subject in June 2022.

Each year, Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese designs a brand new theme based Summer Mandarin Immersion Camp to entertain the students and the theme for 2019 is learning all about the 16 indigenous tribes in Taiwan. We would be keeping the old tradition too as pupils love them – activities such as X factor, calligraphy, Chinese painting, Chinese culinary art, arts & crafts, outdoor games and sound mapping project.
Cost: €150 a week including fruits, snacks, water, lunch and all materials (10% sibling discount).

Register here

mother tongues stories

The time I questioned my own bilingual parenting skills

Before my first child was born I decided that I would speak Italian to him. I thought that speaking Italian to my baby would be the most natural thing to do, as I had always spoken Italian to every one of my family members.
I knew that being the only Italian speaker in our new home in England would mean that I needed to make an effort to expose my child to Italian, but I was prepared to do it. I got together with other Italian families and we met every weekend for years, I travelled as much as possible to Italy, I always chose to read books and watch cartoons in Italian. My son’s language development was fine, and I had no reason to worry. I could see he could understand everything we said both in English and in Italian, even though he mostly used English words at the beginning.

mother tongues storiesOne day when my son was 20 months old we went to our local parent and toddler group and the speaker that day was a speech and language therapist. She asked me a few questions about my son and commented on the fact that he seemed quiet and reserved, and did not seem to want to play with the other children.
I didn’t see anything strange in that, as I knew that whenever we visited the group he immediately reached out for his favourite toys and books. The speech and language therapist continued asking me questions about his language and finally asked me how many words he could say. I wasn’t too sure, but I estimated that he could say about 20 words, some of which were animal sounds (like calling the sheep “baa-baa”). I told her that these 20 words included a mix of Italian and English words, too. She was not too impressed and suggested to put his name down on the waiting list for speech and language therapy. This was based on my answer on the number of words he could say and on the fact that he was playing with a book quietly in a corner of a very busy room.
Lots of questions crossed my mind: should I trust a professional and put his name on the list, just for peace of mind? should I keep an eye on him and work more on his vocabulary?
I had written notes on my son’s early sounds and words in a small diary, and I didn’t think that there was anything wrong with his language development. However, that morning I did question my own judgement. I felt guilty thinking that I may have been too confident and not acknowledged that my child had a problem. I decided to ask more questions.
After a few minutes, I went to talk to the speech and language therapist and asked her why she thought my son should be put on the waiting list. She claimed that at 18 months all children can say at least 50 words and that if they speak two languages they should have at least 50 in each language, so she said that he was a typical case of language delay.
I had at least 10 friends whose 20-month-old children definitely used lots of words… but I also had at least 10 friends whose 20-month-old children said just “mama” and “dada”.
I also knew that it is important to observe a child’s development over time, and rather than placing a 20-month-old child on a waiting list for speech and language therapy, she should have advised me on how to take notes on his new words and how to expand his vocabulary.
When later I asked colleagues who work in the field they said that she should not have given a diagnosis without fully assessing my son, and she should not have assumed that he had language delay based on my report on number of words he could say.
After this short conversation with the speech and language therapist, I was a bit flustered. My son had just been given a “diagnosis” of language delay, and I didn’t take that lightly.
I went to talk to the manager of the toddler group and asked more questions. She told me that this specific speech and language therapist was newly qualified and she had already told many families with young bilingual children (and that was the majority of children at the centre) to stop speaking their mother tongue in order to “fix” their language delay.
She also told me that many parents had gone to her in tears, and felt that they had done something wrong to their child by speaking their mother tongue. The manager told me that she looked into the issue. I did attend the group again, and never saw that speech and language therapist again. I do wonder if the mothers who worried about their child’s development did follow the advice of giving up their mother tongue.
Even though I know how important it is to keep speaking my mother tongue to my child and I know what speech and language therapy involves, I did get very worried and I did question my parenting choices and my own ability to understand my child’s development.

So was she right? Was the language delay real? In our case luckily there was no issue in his language development, but we definitely kept a close eye on him until he was about 4. It was a process that seemed slow and not consistent at times, but I continued to speak Italian to him and now that he is 9 I can say that I don’t regret this decision at all.

What I would say to other families in the same situation is to ask questions, consult experts (public health nurses, speech and language therapists) but never accept the advice of someone who claims that to fix any problem or overcome any difficulty it is necessary for parents to stop speaking their mother tongue to their child.

Author: Francesca La Morgia


We are looking for more stories! Would you like to share yours? Send an email to info@mothertongues.ie and we will get in touch soon!

Mother Tpngues storytelling

Mother Tongues Storytelling projects

Over the last 12 months, we have been working with Chester Beatty Library and Dolphin’s Barn Library on two family storytelling projects. We have experimented both with bilingual storytelling, where every child can join in and try to engage with a dual language story and with single language storytelling, where facilitators and parents only read in the children’s heritage language.
This was a fantastic experience for children who hear their heritage language only spoken at home, as it showed children that libraries and other public places welcome their language and heritage, and storytelling in the heritage language can be a fun community activity.
Language adventures, Raising bilingual children, Mother Tongues, multilingualism, bilingualism, DublinOur multilingual storytelling project Language Adventures started at Dolphins Barn Library with a series of six mornings in which Italian speaking mothers and fathers read and told stories to their children.
The atmosphere was great, and the children enjoyed the unfamiliar experience of reading in Italian in a public space.
Each session also included arts and craft activities which allowed parents to get to chat with one another and make new friends.
Both Claudia from Mother Tongues and Beata, head librarian at Dolphin’s Barn library were extremely enthusiastic and pleased with the outcomes of the first few meetings, so we planned a multilingual storytelling series, including Polish, German, Chinese and Lithuanian. Each session was quite unique, and we allowed families to choose their style of facilitation.
For Polish storytelling, we gathered a fantastic group of Polish parents who read famous stories from their home country and created beautiful bear masks. The German storytelling turned out to be a toddler book reading and parents had the opportunity to meet other parents and to ask questions about bilingualism.

In February we were delighted to host Evan Furlong, director of the Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, who told children and parents how the 12 animals of Chinese Zodiac were chosen and ranked. This storytelling was bilingual, which meant that stories were told in both Chinese and English.
The following month we hosted the Lithuanian Saturday School. They read the story of the fox and the bear explaining why the fox is considered the smartest animal in the forest and the bear’s tail is so short. We were amazed at the children’s incredible reading skills in their heritage language and this special event was made even more special thanks to the visit of Virginija Umbrasiene of the Lithuanian Embassy. You could definitely see that the children were proud and happy to be able to speak Lithuanian.

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Our next events at Dolphins Barn Library will be in Greek and French. The Greek storytelling is organised in collaboration with the Hellenic Community of Ireland School and it will take place on 27th April at 10.30. This event will allow everyone to get a glimpse into Greek language and culture, and it will be held in Greek and English. On 25th May you will meet author Juliette Saumande for an hour of stories and songs in French. We will even make our own books at the end.
In collaboration with the Chester Beatty Library, we organised more multilingual storytelling sessions in Chinese, Greek, Lithuanian and Japanese. These events are held bilingually – English and the corresponding language. The first two were well attended and much appreciated by the public.
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