The Rutu Foundation is committed to supporting quality education for Indigenous Peoples. As part of our series on Distance Learning for Multilingual Learners, we created a list of Digital Language Resources for Indigenous Peoples which can assist the preservation of Indigenous languages and raise awareness as to the threats that indigenous peoples are facing, a situation compounded by the COVID-19 crisis.

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Webinar Role of Parents

Within the Language Friendly School, parents play an important role. Schools design their Language Friendly Schoolplan with the full participation of parents. Parental involvement is essential for a child’s school success. When teachers do not speak the same language as parents and when school books are in a language which the parents do not understand, this can have serious implications for the learning process of multilingual children. It’s important therefore that both parents and teachers find ways of supporting each other. On Thursday 7th May the Rutu Foundation organised a webinar on the role of parents and teachers in supporting multilingual children.

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NESET Webinar


Innovative Networks for  Education of Multilinguals

How do cross-border networks and partnerships foster plurilingualism and promote an inclusive, multilingual ethos across systems? This will be explored in a webinar organised by NESET which has recently published an extensive analytical report entitled The Future of Language Education in Europe: case studies of innovative practices, authored by Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman (International Advisory Board of the Rutu Foundation), Hanna Siarova, and Eszter Szőnyi. The panelists will talk about two inspirational examples of school networks and labels – CertiLingua and #LanguageFriendlySchool, as well as reflect on innovative language learning methods (such as AIM), which can be promoted through such networks.

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The third part of our series on Free Digital Resources for Multilingual Learners focuses on Language and Arts Digital Resources. Along with the freely available multilingual resources related to language learning and arts, we present some creative activities realized by our Language Friendly Schools. As you will see, these can easily be repeated both at home and at school, giving vent to children’s imagination and inventiveness.

This initiative is part of a project which aims to support children, parents and schools in this difficult period. In fact, COVID19 has led us to rethink our lives. In this situation, education needs to shape itself into new forms, embracing different ways to reach students and support their learning. The Rutu Foundation has curated a series of free online resources specifically designed for multilingual learners. Even when schools open up again, these resources are important tools to create inclusive multilingual classrooms. We will continue to update them so check back regularly or subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss anything.


The first and second part of the series can be found here:

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Parents should talk to their child from the very beginning, even when the child is still in the belly (Photo by nappy).

The municipality of Zaanstad, located just north of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, recently announced its intention to adopt a policy of bilingualism for children with a migrant background. “We recognize the multilingual identity of the multilingual child and welcome every child in his entirety,” it is said in the official document. ‘We recognise and appreciate the basic language and culture of the child.'” If adopted, Zaanstad may well be the first Language Friendly municipality of the Netherlands.

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The network of Language Friendly Schools is growing. At the moment, around 15 schools are in the process to become a Language Friendly School. One of them is the Optimist International School in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. They shared their experience of their first steps in this process on their website. And they created a special video to introduce their language friendly activities.

Translate Hundred Stories #GiveATranslation

Starting on Giving Tuesday Now, within one month, we will translate one hundred stories. Will you join us?

On Tuesday May 5 2020, the first Giving Tuesday Now took place. This global day for giving and unity is an emergency response to the unprecedented needs caused by COVID-19. Now that schools are closed, multilingual children who speak a different language at home, miss out on the languages they would otherwise use at school. Continue Reading

Welcome to the second part of our series on Free Digital Resources for Multilingual Learners. This time the focus is on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for distance learning.

The Rutu Foundation curated a series of free online resources specifically designed for multilingual learners to support schools, children, and parents in this difficult period. We will be sharing them during the next weeks, so check back often or subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Our first part with a list of Resources for Reading can be found here.


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Every year on the 21st of February we celebrate the more than 7.000 languages spoken in the world. But did you know that in most countries, the vast majority of students are not allowed to use their home languages at school and are sometimes even punished for it? Punishments can take many forms. As recent as 2009, little kids from India were forced to wear a sign around their neck that they would never speak their home language.

Why schools prohibit or punish the use of home languages

There are many reasons why schools prohibit, punish or discourage the use of home languages. Often it is well-intentioned, as teachers believe that this is the best way for children to learn the school language. However, these practices are harmful and there are much better ways this can be achieved. With happier kids, parents and teachers as a result! 

One of the main goals of the Language Friendly School programme is to help ensure that by 2030, the deadline of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, no child is punished for using his or her mother tongue at school.

During our second Language Friendly School webinar, we took a closer look at why Language Friendly Schools commit to encouraging their students in using their home language, and agree never to prohibit or punish them for doing so.

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Yesterday, some 25 participants from the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Suriname, the UK and Belgium joined our first webinar on the Language Friendly School and learned how the concept was developed, how schools can join and why they should become part of this global network. The examples of language friendly activities shared by the Silver Creek School in Toronto, Canada were truly inspirational. You can find the slides of the webinar below. As extra bonus we’ve included some resources that you can use right away! For more information and to make sure you don’t miss the next webinar: email us at or subscribe to our newsletter.