“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.

The theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society,” captures the essence of the Language Friendly School. This is what Language Friendly Schools do: fostering their students’ multilingualism, making sure that everyone is included and celebrating diversity. To celebrate International Mother Language Day, we created a video showing what Language Friendly Schools do.

Language diversity is not a problem but rather the solution

For Language Friendly Schools, language diversity is not a problem but rather the solution to create a climate of inclusion and well-being. A Language Friendly School values all languages of the community equally. The objective is that all students feel welcome, enjoy their full identity, and build on that to enhance their overall academic performance. Principals, educators, students, community members, and parents or guardians work together toward these common goals.

How do Language Friendly Schools do it?

The Language Friendly School network is open to all schools, public, private, international, primary, secondary and even tertiary schools are welcome. The Language Friendly Schools are all different, with varying student populations and operating in vastly different education systems. So each school is encouraged to create their own Language Friendly School-activities. For example:

  • students are encouraged to participate in the classroom as active agents and leaders by sharing their languages and cultural practices with their peers.
  • teachers develop classroom activities that are both relevant and relatable to students and their families
  • school teams cultivate an atmosphere of inclusion and diversity by ensuring that parents, caregivers and community partners are all involved in the program.

But why don’t you watch the video and have a look for yourself!

Take a look at our Language Friendly Schools

Get to know our Language Friendly Schools in the Netherlands and Canada! Click on the link to discover tips for success, activities and get a sneak-peek into each schools’ individual Language Friendly approach.

February 21st is the International Mother Language Day. This day was declared by UNESCO “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. The theme of 2021 is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
The whole week leading up to February 21st, we are spotlighting our Language Friendly Schools who welcome, value and include all languages at their schools.

Sint Janschool, Amsterdam

The first Tip for Success comes from the vice-principal of the St. Janschool in Amsterdam, Dieneke Blikslager, who states that when it comes to language inclusion “You don’t need to change anything about your education system. You just need to add a language-friendly sauce.” Click here to find out more about what makes the St. Janschool a Language Friendly School.