On Saturday 3 April 2021, De Dubbeldekker, a public primary school in Hilversum, the Netherlands, celebrated its official certification as a Language Friendly School. “This means that we welcome the cultural identity of our students, which includes multilingualism,” explained the principal, Jacqueline van den Bor.

During the covid-proof celebration, the school raised a flag with the Language Friendly School-logo and offered ‘language friendly school’-cakes to the small group of parents, teachers and students who had gathered.

For De Dubbeldekker, multilingualism is not perceived as a problem, but as a strength. “The use of the mother tongue will never be prohibited anymore at our school”. Lidy Peters, the support coordinator (interne begeleider) said: “It is wonderful to see students’ delight when they are asked to provide knowledge about their home language.”

Becoming a Language Friendly School

The Dubbeldekker-school team had already started professional development courses on integrating multilingualism in their teaching strategies, when teacher Pauline Simons heard about the Language Friendly School.

Using the Language Friendly School Roadmap, the team mapped out what they were already doing and then which language friendly-activities they would like to develop further in the future.

As part of the Language Friendly School network, the Dubbeldekker will have access to an online toolkit, a library and most importantly: experienced colleagues to exchange ideas with.

The Language Friendly School is a programme of the Rutu Foundation. The network is growing fast. Starting with two schools in Amsterdam in 2019, there are now 13 Language Friendly Schools in The Netherlands, Spain, Canada and the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba.

For more information: visit the website www.languagefriendlyschool.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin.

Interested in becoming a Language Friendly School? Sign up here to receive more information.

Children love picture books. And picture books are a great way to introduce children to reading and to build their vocabulary. For children from ‘small language’ communities, however, there are not many children’s stories available. In May 2020, the Rutu Foundaton launched the campaign #GiveATranslation. The challenge was to translate 100 stories in one month. Volunteer translators translated more than 130 children’s stories from the website Storyweaver into 18 different languages. One of those languages was Papiamento. The mother tongue of the majority of children in Aruba, a Caribbean island that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a population of 100,000 people.

One year later, the Language Project (Proyecto Idioma) of the Department of Education Aruba (DEA) has the pleasure of announcing the publication of 21 digital stories in Papiamento, with more on the way for a total of 60 children’s stories. These have been translated from tales on the website StoryWeaver and published to it’s innovative online platform, which provides free and open access to multilingual reading material for kids in order to reach as many kids as possible on a global scale.

With the publication of these translations, the Language Project at DEA hopes to promote reading and language development among Aruban kids in Papiamento, the mother tongue of the majority of children in Aruba. In this way, the Language Project hopes to protect and preserve our beloved Papiamento.

Kids, parents, educators and others interested can access the e-books in Papiamento on the StoryWeaver website here.
You can also access them via the DEA websites:
www.papiamento.aw and www.ea.aw.

Happy reading! / Lesa dushi!

 

“Children whose languages are not spoken at school are torn between two worlds, that of the language(s) spoken outside the school and that of the language(s) admitted to the school in predefined and exclusive spaces. How many of these students have been told that they have an accent, pretty or ugly? Followed by the question where they – really – come from. The effect of such comments is always the same: children understand that they do not belong to the local school community.”

Read the full blogpost by Emmanuelle Le Pichon and Ellen-Rose Kambel, co-founders of the Language Friendly School, featured by HundrED in honour of International Mother Language Day 2021.