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.

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.