Getting to the heart of Home LanguagesDoug Conway
With the theme of ‘Dreaming with Eyes Open’, Book Week was celebrated by the Preparatory School with a focus on how the Indigenous people of Australia embraced storytelling. Abigail Nel (Inquiry Learning Integrator) shares how the Prep students explored this topic and dug deeper into Home Languages.
To honour the connection between the theme and the first storytellers of Australia, we decided to create an event where we could highlight the importance of the Indigenous community, share stories written by Indigenous authors, and celebrate their language.
Once we began to discuss the importance of the local Indigenous Dharug language, we quickly recognised that it was also a Home Language. Trinity Grammar Preparatory is a Primary Years Programme (PYP) school that delivers the curriculum through the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework to create lifelong learners who are globally minded. One key aspect of this is to recognise and celebrate the many Home Languages that are spoken, shared and loved within the homes of our students and their families.
In the Library we are continuously looking for ways to celebrate the many Home Languages spoken within our community. It seemed like celebrating the languages of our students alongside a celebration of Indigenous storytellers and their language of Dharug was a perfect fit. Our first Home Language Event as part of Book Week was beginning to take shape.
To celebrate the languages spoken at Trinity, we called upon staff, students, and parents to see who would be willing to share their language. We were extremely lucky to have ten languages represented at the event. Each person was given a page of Possum Magic by Mem Fox to translate and then read aloud.
We invited all students to the gym to listen to an explanation of the importance of the first storytellers of our country, watch a recorded version of Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour and then listen to our guest speakers read their page of Possum Magic in their Home Language. We chose a popular book and also placed the pages on the screen on a projector at the front of the space so students could follow along. At the end of the event, students were asked to raise their hands if they heard a language other than English that they understood today. It was wonderful to see over 80% of students raise their hand. This highlights the different Home Languages understood by our students and the importance of having them represented.
A huge thank you to the following who gave up their time to read to us on the day:
Amita Sinha (parent) – Hindi
August Li (student – Sc) – Mandarin
Dinal Perera (student – He) – Sinhalese
Henry Huang (student – Hi) – Cantonese
Loredana Brown (parent) – Italian
Nicole Zabaras (teacher) – Greek
Rosie Obaid (parent) – Arabic and French
Ryan You (student – Sc) – Korean
Sam Mako (teacher) – Maori