Multilingualism Matters

Multilingualism Matters
By Máire Corbett

 

If you have completed the This is Me! short course on The Pedagogy Space of Early Childhood Ireland’s Learning Hub, you’ll have seen how developing two or more languages in early childhood brings many benefits to the child, including cognitive benefits and enhancement of phonological awareness and executive functioning. Becoming multilingual also contributes to children’s sense of identity and value of their family’s culture and language.

This week, as we introduce our OWL (Our World of Language) Provocation Pack to you, we decided to do a roundup of the Scéalta blog series we ran in 2022, which outlined many and varied perspectives on heritage languages and multilingualism.  Dipping into these posts, from a range of people who have carried out research and/or have practical, lived experiences will give you ideas on how and why multilingualism can be valued and supported in your setting.

It’s My Name

Starting off the series, Milica Atanackovic, from Early Childhood Ireland describes how important her name is to her. In a post called It’s my name! she tells of how she feels when people shorten or change her name. As she says, ‘As educators, it is essential to respect each child’s linguistic and cultural identity.’ Click here to read the full blog.

Bilingual voices – reflections on practice

In a post called Bilingual voices – reflections on practice, Alicja McCloskey, from Mary Immaculate College, talks about how her ‘Polishness’ was a distinct advantage in communicating with children and their families in her room who did not speak fluent English. Click here to read the full blog.

Time to Talk

Dr Maja Haals Brosnan, lecturer in Marino College of Education, in a two-part blog post described her children’s experience of growing up in a multilingual home.  She mentions the challenges of growing up in a multilingual family and says, ‘We need to make and take time to talk… and we need to give children time to feel competent and confident in talking (in all their languages)’.

Time to Talk: Part 1 Click here to read the full blog.
Time to Talk: Part 2 Click here to read the full blog.

My daughter’s name means “fortune of the moon”

Valerie Gaynor, in a post called My daughter’s name means “fortune of the moon” recounts a conversation with a parent about how special her daughter’s name is, in her native Chinese. She outlines the philosophy in her setting, Creative Kids and Co, of ensuring that children’s home names are always used, and care taken to pronounce them correctly. Click here to read the full blog.  

As Gaeilge: A living language in an Naíonra

Irish is the official language of Ireland. In her post called As Gaeilge: A living language in an Naíonra, Máire Ní Chéitinn, from Naíonra Choill Mhic Thomáisín, outlines how they support the children in their setting to learn and love Irish. Click here to read the full blog.

Heritage Languages: Promoting Linguistic and Cultural Diversity

Suzanne McCarthy, from Maynooth University, in her post Heritage Languages: Promoting Linguistic and Cultural Diversity discussed the fact that there are over 200 languages spoken in Ireland and outlined strategies to support heritage languages in our settings. Click here to read the full blog.

Heritage Languages – Resources to nurture and develop practice

And finally, the series concluded with a reminder that there are many resources available to support multilingualism in local libraries. Louise Tobin, from Dublin City Libraries in a post called Heritage Languages – Resources to nurture and develop practice, outlined some resources available in Dublin libraries and suggested readers check their local branch or online to see what is available. Click here to read the full blog.

As we introduce our new OWL resource, to support reflection on how we can support children and their families to value their heritage language, don’t forget to check out This is Me! on The Pedagogy Space of Early Childhood Ireland’s Learning Hub. Please note that this is subject to change as we know more about OWL.

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