With children and staff from 35 different nationalities, celebrating International Mother Tongue Day at BEPS International School is a must. The day gives the opportunity for children to experience a wealth of new experiences, languages and tastes, and is one that is eagerly anticipated.
Wearing clothes that represent home countries means that on this day nationalities can be easily recognised. There are always some incredible garments, which leave those of us not fortunate enough to have fabulous traditional costumes feeling envious. Children with parents form two cultures really can’t choose between the two and will often wear outfits reflecting both. Difficult choices also need to be made when International lunch dishes are considered. Children, parents and staff bring food from their home country to share with each other at lunch time. This results in a menu of cornucopia delights which mean lunchtime is one new taste after another. The children love to tell their friends about the dishes they have brought and are keen to savour the new tastes on offer.
It’s not just about food and fashion though. We want the day to help us learn about the countries that we come from and what they can offer everyone. This year, we thought about artists from our home countries and what they show other people about our culture and backgrounds. Parents and teachers shared their knowledge about, and passion for a wide range of artists. During the morning, the children learnt about artists, sang, danced and painted their way across the world. Of course, many questions were asked and many answers given which meant that understanding was developed and more questions created.
In the afternoon, thoughts turned to Mother Tongues. The children had been asked to bring in fairytales written in their home language. These were shared and similarities and differences identified. The children poured over books in languages they could read and those they couldn’t, looking for features of the story and for any clues which would help them to understand it. Books in different scripts caused great interest, amazement and pride. “How do you know what it says?”, “Which is the letter a?”, “Where is the bit where he blows the house down?” were questions posed to the owner of the book. Children suddenly realised that their friends had skills and talents they were completely unware of. The sense of awe and envy was heartwarming and made everybody realise that our school is full of surprises.
As you can see, at BEPS we love to acknowledge the fact, that although we come together to form one community, our differences are great, and these deserve occasions to be given that extra opportunity to shine through.
The question final question of the day was, “When is it International Mother Tongue Day again?”.