Sharing ideas to enhance linguistic landscapes in education

Linguistic landscapes are the visible language in an environment. In Aotearoa New Zealand our schools are doing great work normalising the use of Te Reo Māori by increasing its visibility. We want to make it easy to do the same for other languages that are important to the children in a learning environment.

The evidence for the individual, community and societal benefits of bilingualism is compelling. We know that the only way for children to grow up using more than one language is if the languages are used with them by people who care for them. Yet many parents do not feel comfortable speaking their languages with their children in public. We believe that by enhancing linguistic landscapes close to children growing up with more than one language and so visibly valuing the languages spoken by whānau, we can make it natural for these languages to be part of the educational context as well as the home.

Una Cunningham, capturing the linguistic landscape in the Education Library

The material in these pages is produced by the LATL-lab as part  of the A Better Start National Science Challenge. It is intended for educators in Early Childhood Education or early years at primary schools. The intention is to support emergent bilingual children, that is children who are growing up hearing and maybe speaking more than one language. Each page offers a tool or an idea for enhancing linguistic landscapes around a child or a group of children. Parents or carers and groups of educators can get ideas from these resources and share materials that they have created to visibly value the languages spoken by the children they are close to. We call these pages pop-up workshops, as they are intended to help show educators how and why they might use a tool or idea.

Pop-up workshop itemsa better start

We are looking forward to hearing how you have used these ideas!