Developing language through Host Country Engagements

“The IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”. IB Mission Statement

The PYP promotes learning additional languages to support the development of international mindedness, a key aspect of all the IB programmes. Additional language learning might be the language of the host country or another language that is part of the curriculum or community. 

Children are naturally curious about other languages. Through host country lessons in EY2 and EY3, we provide opportunities to explore language and stimulate curiosity and open-mindedness through inquiry. Our explorations include sharing our local languages, Hindi and Marathi, through speaking, listening and singing. This develops skills and understanding as they make connections between our local languages and their mother tongue languages. The IB requires that the school place an importance on and supports language learning, including both mother tongue and host country languages. As MIS introduced Hindi as an additional language from 2017-18 and Marathi from 2020-21 from P1, host country engagements support our additional language programs.

The learners are also introduced to different festivals, food and art forms, raising their awareness of the local and host country culture, while they make connections to their culture and those of their classmates. This contextual learning encourages open-minded and respectful interactions, important building blocks of international mindedness. Reading bilingual stories from Indian authors also encourages opportunities to make connections between languages, pictures and different communities.  

In EY2 the learners explored Warli art, a traditional Maharashtrian art form. Warli paintings depict day-to-day activities of villagers through basic sets of shapes such as lines, circles, triangles and squares. These shapes are used to draw scenes that decorate clay houses and represent a sense of togetherness. Using this art form, some of the EY2 learners created portraits of their friends and family in host country classes during How we express ourselves. 

Through stories and rhymes, learners are introduced to vocabulary which promotes diversity of not only the national language Hindi, but the state language Marathi as well. This further supports learners to explore the similarities and differences between languages.  

In EY3, learners explored the story “What’s in the Pot?” by Crystal Wareen and were then encouraged to make a fruit salad or soup. This further inspired the children to speak in Hindi or Marathi to retell the names of the vegetables or fruits used.

Understanding that we have a diverse range of learners, we explore songs to encourage language development. The Karadi rhyming song ‘Sa Sings the Sunflowers’ helped learners engage with flower names in Hindi and Marathi. They also learned patterns through “Alankaar” in music.

To encourage children to think from different perspectives, EY3 explored the Hindi story “The Big Pancake” to think about the diversity of pancakes. EY3 students learned that there are many different types of pancakes around the world, with dosa being the local type of pancakes and others such as pikelets from Australia, appam from the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well as in Sri Lanka and kimchijeon from Korea. The learners made an array of connections by coming to an understanding that we all enjoy them.

Early years host country engagements strongly address one aspect of the MIS mission celebrate diversity, where we have varied perspectives, respecting difference, international-mindedness and develop global citizens. 

By Cynthia Vaz, Pratima Bhasme and Dhanashree Mudiraj

Works Cited

Authindia. “11 Facts about Warli Painting.” 11 Facts about Warli Painting. Authindia, 11 April 2020. YouTube video. 3 March 2021. <>.

International Baccalaureate Organization. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2021. website. 3 March 2021. <>.

—. “Programme resource center.” December 2018. PYP: From principles into practice. 15 February 2020.

Karadi Tales. “Karadi Rhymes – Sa Sing the Sunflowers.” Karadi Rhymes – Sa Sing the Sunflower. Karadi Tales, 18 June 2020. Vimeo. 3 March 2021. <>.

Kids Planet Hindi. “Panchtantra Ki Kahaniya.” Kids Planet Hindi, 7 March 2019. YouTube video. 12 February 2021. <>.

Little Kingdom. “Sa Sing the Sunflowers Song with Lyrics.” Little Kingdom, 21 October 2020. YouTube video. 3 March 2021. <>.

Mahindra International School. Mahindra International School. 3 November 2020. website. 3 March 2021. <>.

Storyweaver. What’s in the pot? 2021. e-book. 3 March 2021. <>.

SuperWowSkills. “Facts about Warli Art.” Facts about Warli Art. SuperWowSkills, 6 June 202. YouTube video. 3 March 2021. <>.