‘European classics’ in Roman schools

Recently on the Living in Bergamo Facebook page we discussed this initiative in Rome, which tried to introduce children to a variety of European ‘classics’. Sadly, it appears to be a great idea that was badly executed. I’m also really disappointed in the choice of some of the dishes. Traditional Irish chicken and chips? Not so much, really. What about Irish stew, or some Irish salmon? A dish with lots of lovely, floury potatoes? Soda bread? One can only assume the hot dogs were actually sausages, maybe representing Germany or Austria? Except that a properly made Wurst or Wuerstchen has precious little to do with the ‘wurstel’ the kids were in all likelihood served.

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A Primomodo update

Primomodo have been in touch to let us know that they are offering a couple of new things for native English speakers … The first you will probably already have heard of, it’s their English spazio gioco. These are English-speaking play groups for babies and toddlers ( 3 to 30 months) and parents (they call it spazio gioco in inglese; the teacher always speaks English with the kids and English or Italian with the parent), you can find more info on their site.

They will also be doing an English breakfast,  a new project they are thinking about — breakfst for mommies/parents/relatives on Thursday mornings; in their family bar they have tables, high chairs and a big play room – the ticket is 5,50 euros per child and there is no time limit.

And in other news, they are looking for new Helen Doron teachers. If you want to know more about Helen Doron a quick google will find you loads of info, but you can also contact Primomodo about it. I intereviewed with them years ago and it seeemd like a warm, friendly, professional environment to work in. The hours really didn’t suit me though (afternoons and evenings), and the teaching style is high energy — so I wasn’t suited to it personality-wise, and with young kids of my own I don’t have that much energy to spare!

The ideal candidate would ideally be a native English speaker, have experience with babies, toddlers and children, and love working with children. If you’re interested, contact them directly.

On the English language … again

I recently read an interesting article in The Atlantic on how tricky spelling is in English, and how this hampers learning in other areas for kids. Very interesting!  I have to admit that I used to be totally mystified by why learning to read was such a lengthy process in the Anglophone world … (I started my schooling in Germany). Now I know a little more. It explains the push to start literacy instruction earlier and earlier (but a link in the article also explains why this is not necessarily a good, developmentally appropriate idea). Lots of food for thought, as always. I can’t find the link now (found it), but it seems that the Italian education minister has announced that Italian-English bilingual instruction in several subjects will become widely available in public schools in the near future, so this raises interesting questions there too. I suppose this is where you debate which language should be learned first, and through which language children should first, formally be introduced to reading and writing (not English, it would seem!). I read about a series of case studies of bilingual immersion programmes in Canada a while back that addressed some of these issues by Jim Cummins, if I’m not mistaken.

Apparently a similar project is already underway in Lombardy. And it seems that the British Council is in on it too.