We at Eindhoven News are always looking for ways to make your life easy. Of course, we are always thinking “how can we improve your life by keeping you better informed”. So we accepted Gisi Cannizzaro’s invite to find out more.
On Saturday, June 15, sixty people convened at the Basisschool Reigerlaan in Villapark for a symposium of the Heritage Language Schools Eindhoven (HLSE). It is the first time that the schools have come together to meet each other and discuss the challenges that they face. The event was hosted by the SALTO InternationalSchool and Eindhoven Italian School “La Lampadina.”
A heritage language (“mother tongue”) school is a program that provides the opportunity for children to develop a language that they speak at home but are not able to study at school. The language program takes place after school or in the weekend throughout the school year. There are proven cognitive, academic, and social benefits when children follow lessons in their home language, so the heritage schools play an important role in the education and development of multilingual children in Eindhoven.
The event’s program consisted of two presentations and a panel discussion and provided the opportunity for the heads of school to network with other attendees. Among the participating language communities (either with an existing program or with one expected to become on offer) are Bulgarian, Chinese (Mandarin and Taiwanese), Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indian languages, Italian, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
One message made clear at the symposium is that the heritage language programs are run by dedicated people who manage to accomplish a lot in the face of many challenges. The organizers of the programs must find sufficient volunteers, teachers, and families, they must find funds to run the courses, they must find a suitable location and appropriate lesson materials, and they must create a valuable program for the children, who only meet several hours per month.
The proposal to create an HLSE platform that was presented included plans to: increase the schools’ visibility, create a sense of community between the schools, to improve program quality, to reach out to the public to inform them about multilingualism, and to form meaningful partnerships within the community. There is already a partnership with the Holland Expat Center South, which has added a list of heritage schools to its website and has included a new section about heritage language education in its printed guides. The SALTO International School will promote mother tongue lessons for all of its enrolled students, so maintaining a relationship with HLSE will be vital.
Source: Gisi Cannizzaro
Published by: Beena Arunraj.