School records bilingual fairytales

Santa (Bob Smithers) and two of his helpers, Caroline Frampton and Margaret Clements

Pictures: Keith Woodland

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BILINGUAL children celebrated their talents by taking part in a unique storytelling project with their parents.

Ranvilles Infant School in Fareham organised a project to support children who speak a second language.

Tina Wang (6) and her mother Fei Yang during a recording session at''Ranvilles Infant School

Tina Wang (6) and her mother Fei Yang during a recording session at''Ranvilles Infant School

Children and parents have been working to retell the stories in both English and their first language.

A local artist then helped create a storyboard of the two tales, which children across the school helped to design.

Chris Pim is an educational consultant at the school and set up the project.

He said: ‘Schools are increasingly getting children from abroad who have grown up British but who have other languages they speak at home.

‘This school has got quite a few children now with another language in their background. We wanted to find a way to celebrate that. It was a lovely way of getting parents to work with children and celebrating the rich languages that the children have in their backgrounds.’

Languages included Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, German and Italian.

Mr Pim added: ‘The children have been incredibly excited about sharing with the school and the wider population this ability that they have to use another language.

‘It’s been enriching for them because they’ve never had the opportunity to do that before.

‘The parents, as bilingual people themselves, recognise the importance of making sure that their children continue to learn their languages at home.’

Michele Carissimi, 42, is Italian and was reading with his seven-year-old daughter Ava.

He said: ‘I think it’s excellent for bilingual children to be able to use their talents at school, not just at home.

‘It’s important for us that they learn our language. It enhances the experience.

‘It makes it more special for her. It makes them proud being bilingual.’

Jessica Taylor, 28, is German. She was reading with her six-year-old daughter Jamielee.

She said: ‘It’s good for other children to learn other languages, to see the differences. Jamielee is interested to learn other languages.

‘It’s nice to see how good she is in both languages because when she came over she didn’t speak any English.’