The Multilingual library is located in the Ambleside Parish Centre and, at the moment, it hosts books in 20 different languages. The purpose of the library is to give the opportunity to children, whose first language is not English, to find books in their own native tongue and, for children who only speak English, to be exposed to different languages, sounds, representations and - ultimately - cultures.
Because of COVID-19 we moved this project online as well.
We offered an alternating set of activities starting with a reading in various languages, followed by creative writing workshops.
We read books in 8 different languages:
we made paper marionettes after a reading in Italian;
we learned how to write and pronounce a few basic words in Arabic;
we talked about how children can be helped in processing emotions and anxieties caused by COVID-19 thanks to the UNICEF book My Hero is You;
we learned how to write the numbers up to 10 in Chinese Mandarin;
we listened to an original story about transition to a new country, in Spanish;
we followed the adventures of a young man in a traditional Russian story;
we speculated about all the possible finales from an original story with an open ending, by a German author;
we learned the name of colours in French, through a brilliantly interactive book.
We hosted creative writing Poetry workshops, facilitated by Phil Hewitson from Speakeasy- Carlisle where we learned how to create poetry by choosing random words and interweaving them together; how to create acronym poems; how to write Haiku poems, all the while incorporating words in various languages.
We then hosted creative writing Storytelling workshops, facilitated by Debbie Watson from CDEC (Cumbria Development Education Centre) - Ambleside, where we learned how to build the structure of a story; the Where? Who? What? that set the narrative; how to build the visual dynamic of a tale and how to invent a story together, creating one step of the journey each.