Bilingual children

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Bilingual Coffee Morning at Ramsgate Library in Kent

Concept

We have just hosted our third bilingual coffee morning at Ramsgate Library (March 2010). This is an hour-long meeting over a cup of tea or coffee with parents and carers of bilingual children. We present dual-language books in languages of interest to the group, discuss the challenges of maintaining the mother tongue in a predominantly English language environment, and try to engage children in activities that would encourage and support their expression in their native tongue. We also aim to raise awareness of the multicultural nature of our community


Key audiences

Non-English and English parents and carers who are raising bilingual children aged 0-5 years.


Purpose


Outcomes


At our last meeting, we had 7 parents with 9 children, most of them had been before, but there were 2 new mums who'd heard about our meetings. The verbal feedback was very good, they liked the dual language books and an interactive game for the children


Attendee feedback (all parents):

The "Bilingual Children" meetings at Ramsgate Library have become an invaluable source of advice and support for my family. It seems that parents who have a mother tongue other than English face many of the same problems and quandries, even though we may be from very different cultures and backgrounds. It is encouraging to share tips and stories with the other parents, and the efforts the library staff go to to find books in the various languages are very helpful, too. I also appreciate the way Ms Cornelius arranges activities for the children designed to engage as well as celebrate the diversity the different languages represent. The children vary a lot in age as well as nationality so this is no mean feat! On the whole I find the meetings a most praiseworthy initiative and hope they will continue. Anne (Norwegian; Mum to Alexandra (2) and Yvonne (5 months)

Thank you so much for our first session we look forward to coming again. You have your work cut out with such a wide variety of spoken languages but as we discussed for me the most important thing is that my child is raised to understand there are many countries, peoples and languages and he can learn to respect and understand them all, integration is such an important message of our modern British culture and I can only wish that more young people of Thanet could be exposed to such a warm, supportive and inspiring group that you have created, Many thanks, Helene and Oscar

We have attended the bilingual meeting at the library on 5/3/2010. It was very well organised and one could feel a lot of effort and organisation has been put into this. We have found it very useful and the little ones have enjoyed the meeting. We will definitely be back for the next meeting. Thank you - Anna

Thank you for today’s bilingual coffee morning, once again I found our get together most positive. It is always good to meet up with like minded families working towards a common goal. Monthly meetings would be helpful in terms of maintaining momentum. As mentioned before I know of other parents in the Canterbury area who would also be interested in joining a bilingual group should one be started in their area. - Zoe

Thank you so much for the wonderful time today, we absolutely enjoyed it. Monthly meeting will be great for us and I would like to exchange a note of numbers in different language as many as possible, but if that impossible not to worry. You organized really well. WELL DONE. Many thanks - Mu & Isaac

The Future

It is an ongoing project meeting regularly (bi-monthly) for as long as there seems


Who runs this project?

Lolita Cornelius at Ramsgate library, with support from the Ramsgate Customer Service Officers and the Thanet Customer Services Development Librarians

Website links for more information http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/libraries.aspx


Partners

Contact details for the project

Lolita Cornelius, Customer Support Assistant at Ramsgate Library lolita. cornelius@kent.gov.uk

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