At Aarhus International School (AIS), we believe and value language learning, which includes home and family languages, the languages of the school, additional languages and the development of literacy. In alignment with principles and beliefs of the International Baccalaureate (IB), we are invested in supporting student language development as we strive to help students use their language to build a better and more peaceful world.
In accordance with the AIS Language Policy, we maintain that the development of mother tongue proficiencies is central to the whole development of cognitive skills in children. Likewise, well-developed mother tongue skills enhance general language skills. As language is part of one’s identity, the recognition of one’s mother tongue and the cultural traditions and customs associated with it increase a child’s self- esteem and general sense of wellbeing. We encourage all teachers to recognise students’ mother tongues and cultural traditions and customs both in lessons and in school life.
Mother Tongue Language Clubs in PYP4-8
The PYP4-8 Mother Tongue Language Clubs have been an ongoing tradition in the PYP at AIS, and this has been particularly strengthened over the past few school years. Our language clubs are an important part of our school community, and they offer a way for students to come together to practice speaking their mother tongue languages with their peers from across the PYP. Our mother tongue language clubs are led by a mix of parent volunteers and local community volunteers who are interested in supporting student language development. At the beginning of each school year as the programme is being planned, this list of languages is updated to reflect current student mother tongue languages and the available volunteers are gathered. We have a diverse population at AIS and in the 2019-2020 school year, we are currently able to offer language clubs in the following languages:
The Mother Tongue Language Clubs are held twice a month, usually the second and fourth Monday afternoon. These clubs are held for 45 minutes and are regularly scheduled around a shared focus or theme. Some of these themes are: getting to know each other, celebrating holidays in the culture, working with winter/spring themes, and comparing and contrasting different topics such as food, family, life, celebrations and languages. A few of the clubs use this opportunity to follow a national curriculum from their home country. We encourage the clubs to explore a variety of areas of language development, including speaking, listening, reading and writing.
It is a long-standing tradition that the PYP at AIS recognises and celebrate the United Nations International Mother Language Day each year on the 21st of February. The goal of this awareness day is to "promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism" (UN, 2020).