Mother /Home Language week celebrations in the Primary School

 

The week of February 21st was our chosen Mother/Home Language week. There were a number of key factors at play that influenced the date choice: 

  • 21st February is the UNESCO as International Mother Language Day to highlight linguistic diversity and internationalism. According to the UN, there are 6,000 languages spoken with 43% in danger of becoming extinct.  
  • 27th February is Marathi Day every year across the Indian state of Maharastra. It is celebrated on the birthday of eminent Marathi Senior poet, Kusumagraj, who has made significant contribution in the cultural field of Maharashtra. 

Showcased below are samples of the learning that took place across the whole Primary that week. More can be found on Seesaw.  

The EY2 learners brought in their favourite stories in their home language to share with their peers, some of which was read by the teacher for the class. They came wearing different traditional clothes to depict the countries they came from and mentioned the names of the clothes they were wearing, such as, dhoti kurta, Kurta pajama, salwar kurta and dirndl.  

They shared their thoughts on why they love/like school having the parents scribe for them in their mother/home language.

In Hindi class, the learners did many activities. They contributed to designing their engagements and participated with the utmost enthusiasm in all the fun-filled activities. Most of the learners took pride in their mother language, while others could be seen still developing that pride. At the same time, they were curious about others’ mother languages and a dynamic exchange of learning was evident in all the engagements with various languages floating in the atmosphere. They also took time to reflect on ‘Why is their mother/home language important to them?’ and planned a course of action based on the question, ‘What would they do to keep in touch with their mother language?’. 

PSE took the following lens – Will we be givers or takers, owners or stewards? In The Giving Tree, author Shel Silverstein relates the story of one man’s life. He begins by playing with the tree and taking her leaves. She later gives her branches so he can build a house, and finally her trunk to build a boat. Learners across the primary will rediscovered this familiar story during PSE, considering both personal and social outcomes related to choices and consequences. We encourage parents to enjoy the story again at home through read aloud! 

This week elicited all the enthusiasm from our French learners in P3, P4 and P5 who participated actively in all the activities. We were all open-minded and balanced as learners used their social and communication skills to teach and learn Hindi, German, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Ukrainian, and Korean to one another. There were a couple of eye-popping moments when we learnt that a few words in Korean and Tamil not only sounded the same, but they also had exactly the same meaning! This prompted the learners to delve deeper into some unique linguistic and historical facts about these languages.  

In EY3, learners made connections to stories that they shared from home. Lyla shared おおきなかぶ ‘The Enormous Turnip’; looking at the pictures the children were amazed to see a traditional tale written in a different language from their own. They listened to Ines confidently sharing her book in French, ‘Petit Koala a Perdu Son Lit’. They observed Lena’s book about her family and found out some words for key members of her family – oma, opa, onkel and tante and observed pages from Shhuaurya’s book about a मछली, fish, in Hindi. On the final day of language week, we listened to a story in Marathi झोपाळू भीमा (Sleepyhead Bheema); the learners guessed what was happening by watching the teachers act out the book and listened for keywords such as sleepy झोपलेला. 

Mother/ Home language week presented a wonderful opportunity for P2 to reflect on the role languages play in our lives and the importance of preserving linguistic diversity in the school community. Every language is a window into a culture – a way of thinking, living and transmitting knowledge. Our multilingual classrooms are the ideal environment for discussing the importance of language in each of our learners lives with a view to fostering tolerance and respect and building on self-identity. 

P2 learners created labels for all the supplies and essentials in the classroom; they shared the words in their mother tongue which each other. The celebration merged beautifully with the current P2 unit, Where we are in place and time. The learners brought in a special travel artefacts to share with their peers and decided to write notes before they presented their ideas. They confidently spoke about special memories the artefact brought back for them.  

The EY1 learners and families participated in the home Language week celebrations by sending in their list of things they love about MIS and ‘We are the Eagles’ written in their home languages. Some of the learners dressed up in their traditional clothes and brought toys that were special. Many of the learners brought their favourite stories to share with the class. Everyone enjoyed listening to stories. ‘Maya ki Chandi ki Payal’ or ‘Maya’s Silver Anklet’ was the class favourite.  

To celebrate the diverse cultures in P5, the learners inquired into the different languages that are found in our class. It all started on Friday, February 18th, when the P5 learners created different engagements to help their peers learn Korean, Gujrati, Hindi and Norwegian among other languages. All their hard work was showcased in this Padlet. The fun began on Monday, February 21st, and spread until Thursday, February 24th, when the learners tried their best to pronounce, write, sing, and research about the different languages. 

Here are some of the reflections the P5 learners wrote about this great learning experience. 

Every day in this week, we need to complete two of other classmates’ activities. It is very interesting because we get to write/speak/learn in others mother language. “- Rhea 

“From my peers’ task I learn new words!” – Gaon 

“I have learned a bit of Norwegian, German, English, and Hindi. We have all used different ways to try to teach a few people our home language.”- Simon 

“I have learnt many words from different languages like Korean, Japanese, Hindi etc. All the tasks were unique and we learnt different words from many languages.”- Zoya 

As part of the P3 unit, Where we are in place and time, the learners have been inquiring into the many ways in which the ancient past is connected to life in present times. When our inquiry crossed paths with Home Language Week, it was only fitting that in the spirit of true transdisciplinary learning, we extended our understanding of the concept ‘connection’ to explore the role language plays in connecting people and cultures across the world. And what better place to look for these connections than our very own culture-rich class community? 

Sitting in a circle, a single ball of yarn between them, our learners shared words in their mother languages while their classmates excitedly made connections with words that sounded similar, words that had similar meanings, and words that rhymed. And just like that, a beautiful web of interwoven languages was spun revealing to our internationally-minded learners yet another commonality that brought them together in yet another celebration of diversity at MIS.  

Student Reflections  

Eunjoon: “This game showed us that all the languages we speak area a little same.”  

Miraya: “This activity made me realize that all of our languages are connected in some way.”  

Suhaana: “This activity was connected to our unit because we have so many languages in modern times and these languages actually come from the olden times. These languages are connected in some way by their script.” 

P1 participated in home language week by writing their name in their home language. Learners were thrilled to discover how to use Google Translate on their iPads to see how their names appear in different home language. Learners welcomed diversity by sharing how they learned to speak a variety of languages. We also talked about the importance of learning the local language, Marathi, and how it helps us communicate with the people in our community. We had fun writing – I love learning at MIS – and placed our work in a heart-shaped cut-out. 

P4 learners had a PJ party to share their love of books and reading in their home language. They exchanged popular stories in their home language and made cross-cultural connections to their life experiences. They proudly showcased MIS’ diversity by choosing an artefact that symbolizes their home culture. They presented the artefact to the whole class, highlighting the cultural and personal significance. This allowed the learners to gain a new perspective about the world’s diversity, which enhances international-mindedness and being more open to others. P4 learners were also engaged in activities to write two specific sentences ‘We are the eagles’ and ‘We love learning in MIS’ in their own home language. Afterwards, all learners shared how to say and write these sentences. Some students started to make crosslinguistic connections by finding similar words in their own language. 

As you can see just as diverse as our language profile as a community, the engagements were rich and rewarding for our learners.   

Collated by Ms Helen Sharrock 

Primary Principal on behalf of the Primary Team 

Sources  

Kusumagraj – Wikipedia 

International Mother Language Day (unesco.org) 

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