If you want to know more about the Chinese New Year, this is a story of Nian, a horrible monster and the origins of the Lunar New Year. Children will learn why firecrackers, noisemakers, and the colour red are part of the Chinese New Year’s traditions. The story is being told by a 10-year-old bilingual boy who speaks Polish and English and wants to learn Mandarin and Japanese.
Anna Hamilton is Polish who lives in Dorset, UK with her British husband and their four children who can fluently speak English, Polish, and Spanish. As part of the World of Love campaign, she shares her best tips and practical advice on how to raise bilingual and multilingual kids.
World of Love is a campaign to recognise the contributions made by the members of our culturally and linguistically diverse society and to introduce inspiring people from all paths of life from all over the world.
Everyone can be an inspiration: a community leader and a child who speaks two or more languages, an art creator who brings joy and hope to others and a company who sees diversity as a business opportunity. Regular people together with experts in medicine, business and sports personalities, artists alongside other professionals and experts will share their passion, knowledge, and skills to help us understand the different aspects of the diversity of the world.
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Marcus Rashford, Manchester United and England national team footballer and an activist to end child poverty has teamed up with Burberry to help UK youth organisations in Manchester, London, and charities with a global reach. The 22-year-old who received free school meals as a youngster growing up in Wythenshawe, wrote a moving letter to his 10-year-old self. A must to read by adults and young people.
Marcus Rashford’s letter to his younger self
I encourage you to dream, because sometimes dreams are all you will have. I encourage you to lay your head on the pillow and close your eyes tight and think of better days to come, because luckily for us, our dreams have come true. Would I be the Marcus Rashford you see stood in front of you today if it wasn’t for the hardship and struggle? Simple answer? No. You should never be ashamed to ask for help. Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose. Never drop your head in shame.
There have been many days that you have felt alone and, in this game we call football, there will be a few more to come. But your family and your community will never allow anyone to dim your light because that light is still needed to survive the darkest days. The noise your stomach has been making, will one day be replaced with the noise of crowds chanting your name. Buckle up little man, it’s going to be quite the ride.
Your community will prove to be the most special extension of your family. When you fall, which you will, there will always be neighbours and friends to catch you. There is no need to feel ashamed because they will catch you without judgment and comment. No questions asked. Feel the warmth of those around you and know that one day, you are going to have the platform to repay them. For a young boy who says so little, one day you will have a voice that speaks for many.
One day you will have a lot of things you never dreamt of owning, but never forget that stability and consistency are two of the most valuable things you will ever experience. The youth centres that you visit today on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, will prove to be central to all of the greatest gifts you receive in life – your friendships, your discipline, your respect, and compassion for others.
One day you will have the opportunity to travel to lands you never knew existed, to hear languages so foreign, and experience culture so alien. Don’t ever be overwhelmed. Stand tall, with the Mancunian accent that will become so familiar to many. Your youth centre has taught you to celebrate difference. To celebrate those that don’t look or sound like you. And this is one of the greatest lessons you will learn, so hold on to it, as one day you will be stood alongside ten new allies whose only common language is that round ball that has become so important in your life. We do not point fingers, we never have. We wrap our arms around each other and tug each other up at times we are feeling low. Always remember that kindness is power.
The life lessons you will hold so close as an adult, are being taught right now within the four walls of that youth centre. The freedom and safety you are feeling, will one day be felt on a pitch much greater than you can imagine. Never take for granted this safe space as it plays such a big role in mum’s life. You might not be able to see it now, but her smile grows wide and the weight on her shoulders lessens every time you return home with a full belly. One day those football players you idolize will be trumped by a greater hero. A hero that goes by the name of mum.
There have been many days that you have felt lesser than others, but no more. Your voice, your stance, your family, your community, and friends, all matter. Whenever you feel like you have very little, know that there are always people willing to give. Just look at those doors wide open welcoming you in for a snack or a chat. If I had to ask one thing of you it would be this. Please, never go to bed feeling like you don’t have a role to play in this life because, believe me when I tell you, the possibilities are endless.
Newly released government GCSE figures have revealed that native English speakers have fallen behind the children of immigrants in Attainment 8, on all of the key measures across eight GCSEs. The same tendency can be noticed in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which assesses marks in English language and literature, maths, the sciences, history or geography and a foreign language.
Reports say that in 2019, 43.8 per cent of pupils from linguistic backgrounds other than English achieved a strong 9-5 grade pass in English and maths, compared to 43.2 per cent of their native speaking peers.An average Attainment 8 score at state-funded schools was 46.6 per cent for native English speaking teenagers compared to 47.6 per cent for those who come from immigrant families.
This trend was first noted in 2017, when children with English as an additional language outperformed native English speakers across all the key GCSE measures.
Responding to the impressive figures, Bea Sieradzka, the founder of the World of Love Festival, the new family language event in Bournemouth, which in 2019 gathered people from more than 20 diverse communities, says that these findings are a great example to prove how useful learning languages is. At the event in Dorset, children can take part in free kids’ activities and interactive language games from different countries, try their hand at the different workshops and watch international artists performing on stage. This is all to inspire children and their families to learning languages and sharing the knowledge of other cultures.
The new government data shows that bilingualism not only improves our social lives, helps to travel and makes us more competitive in the job market. Modern research studies demonstrate that the ability to speak two languages or more improves attention control, problem solving, helps with multitasking and in general, improves a child’s educational development.
Bilingualism or, multilingualism is the phenomenon of speaking and understanding two or more languages. It has important cognitive and economic benefits but it also helps to build closer connections with people and participate in the global community in more ways.
Watch this video to see if you can recognise any of the amazing signs that you are fluent in more than just one language.