What type of school do you teach in?
A diverse one no doubt.
I started my career in Brent and I remember the playground being an astonishingly vibrant place full of languages and cultures that colourfully overlapped.
The first time I was on duty my ears wibbled and wobbled. The school respected and celebrated diversity and pupils’ cultural knowledge experiences and mother-tongue languages were viewed as precious resources.
Whether you have 30 languages in your school or just a handful, our respect for diversity means we are all international schools now but do we all teach through a multilingual lens?
Inclusivity is not an option but an essential component in nurturing respect for all, building a sense of belonging to a common humanity and helping learners become responsible and active global citizens.
The building blocks for a better world start in the Early Years through ‘translanguaging‘ and the ability of children to shuttle between languages to formulate a tapestry of words, understanding and deeper meaning.
Translanguaging simply means receiving information in one language and using or applying it in the other language.
Now I know a ground breaking programme that has a clear focus upon multilingualism and internationalism to support English language learning and promote pupils’ home language skills.
The Glitterlings is an interlingual story and play-based course aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and works by allowing the child and teacher to share learning where each one learns from the other.
This twinkling and critical thinking programme is made up of nine highly readable stories involving Gliterrlings, inquisitive and gregarious hyperpolyglot savants that come from two stars left of the moon.
They love learning languages and want to help children discover the joy of learning about multiculturalism and multilingualism and why learning languages is so important and something that they can do.
This happy and sparkly programme is made up of 9 storybooks and audio CD, 3 Big Books, an Activity Book and a Teacher Resource Book and CD.
The appealing and relevant stories are all based around stimulating global themes that are perfect for developing cognitive and emotional growth. The units include all about me and all about you, new people and new places, animals, feelings, homes, weather, helping and teamwork, expressing yourself and memories.
Children are transported to different parts of the world by the blustery breeze where they meet exciting people and learn their dynamic languages. This is perfect for using Google Earth!
The books also contain tips for reading at home, fun facts, and an audio CD. The child friendly illustrations will leave you feeling soft and tingly and there are opportunities to write in the books too so they are very adaptable for class and outside of class use.
The Activity book goes hand in hand with the storybooks and contain a variety of engaging activities, fun stickers and illustrations that beam with colour, life and purposeful activities such as draw and write, singing, listening, saying and reading together. There are also craft, number, puzzle and play opportunities too.
The Teacher Resource Book provides an ocean of brilliant activities, beautiful ideas and classroom management tips and so is a must-have resource for getting the best out of the storybooks.
What really stands out is the scope and sequence with each unit theme following a similar structure involving warm-up ideas, story time pointers, talking points, moving and doing activities, critical thinking opportunities, songs, activity book time and quick ideas.
You have more than enough here to inspire you to the Moon and back. This is platinum level active learning.
The Big Books do what they do best and bring children closer to the action and immerse them inside the stories. Big, bold, bright and colourful, they entice you into a different world.
This expertly crafted resource is unique because it helps young children begin the journey towards a national, international, and intercultural mindedness empowering them with valuable skills so they can play their part on the pluricultural and plurilingual global stage.
The Glitterlings help children to know that their home language is valued and respected and there is a place for all languages in their classroom. The programme allows children to embrace language learning, cherish other cultures and aspire to be polyglots themselves and fits seamlessly into the ecology of an interlingual classroom.
Polyglots are still sorely underrated in the UK as the pervasive nature of English has made the purpose of foreign-language learning almost redundant.
But the Glitterlings can change that by helping children tune in to pluralism, actively listen to the world around them and see polyglotism as an achievable and natural way of being rather than an impossible feat only an intelligent few can do.
Byron was described as a ‘monster of languages’; well, the Glitterlings can help make language monsters of early learners by tapping into their colossal potential and massive learning capacities.
This is a lifelong learning gem that promotes world citizenship through diversity, open-mindedness and respect. Children will develop the linguistic security and identity investment they need to be successful through a classroom ecology that gives pride of place to celebrating difference.
Glit, Flitter, Ling a Ling and Glot will help children achieve this security and at very little cost to your budget.