Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child


Monday, January 19, 2015

Q&A: Question from a bilingual parent-to-be about language choice.


Question from a bilingual parent-to-be with a monolingual spouse about language choice. They would like to raise a trilingual child, who would speak Korean, Indonesian & English.

My name is S. D. and I found your website trough google about raising children trilingual. I'm so happy to find a website that could help me figuring out how to raise my child in the future. Well, I don't have any children yet, but since I've been married for three years I'm thinking to have one in the near future.

First of all, I sent this email in the hope that you could help me figuring out how to raise my future kids multilingual.
Let me introduce my self. I'm half Korean and half Indonesian. I have Korean father and Indonesian mother. I was born and raised in Indonesia. After graduated from high school, I moved to Korea and attended university and started to learn Korean. I couldn't speak Korean before. Now, I'm not a native but quite fluent (near-native level). I'm married to Korean husband (who only can speak Korean, cannot speak English or Indonesian) and now we live in Korea.

So, my question is...
1. what language should i speak to my kid? I read from your article that I should speak my mother tongue which is Indonesian. I agree with it. But, since my husband cannot speak Indonesian, how we can communicate as a family? I don't want my husband to feel left out. Should I decide 'a family language' and 'children-mom language', 'children-daddy language'? ex: family language is Korean, children-mom language is Indonesian, and children-daddy language is Korean?

2. I want my kids to be able to speak Korean, Indonesian and English fluently. What kind of practical method can I do?

I am so worry and has lots of concern about it. I have a friend who is half Korean-Indonesian like me, but she refused to use Indonesian language since she's fluent in Korean. Her concern is she wants her kids to have a solid one mother tongue.

I'd appreciate if you could help me to decide what kind of methods and is it safe to raise my kinds multilingual?

Thank you very much.
May God bless you


Dear S. D.,

I am glad that you found the website helpful. The fact that you started thinking about your future child multilingualism now will help you to step on the right road in your multilingual family journey.

The children's brain is ready to learn several language from birth (Can babies distinguish foreign languages?  ) and there is no harm in it. We should not forget that there are entire countries, where bilingualism and multilingualism is official: Belgium, India, South Africa, Switzerland. So you should not worry.

Since your husband does not speak the language you plan to speak to your child, I would advise you to do what you can to support him in learning it before the baby comes. It would be great if your husband could take a course of Indonesian. If there are no classes offered near by, you can find an online course or computer course, or teach him yourself! He does not need to become fluent - knowing the basics will help him understand when you will be speaking to your child and he won't feel completely left out of your conversations. Also your husband will be able to continue learning the language together with your child. This could bring nice dynamics to your family.

Ask your husband how he think he will feel about you speaking Indonesian to your child when he is around. He might not mind it at all! After all this is something you do for your child :)

As for the language arrangement, I would set it as you have mentioned: You and your child - Indonesian, you and your husband Korean, your husband and your child - Korean. The country language will dominate, so you need to concentrate on quality input in Indonesian. Read books, sing songs, interact with your child all the time, ...

As for English language - I would look for learning options outside of the house, since you would need to put all your energy towards Indonesian. At home I would limit English learning to some weekly English language activities. My kids love English language nursery rhymes and songs - they work best for small kids. There will be more English language input at school, if it's offered as a subject.

I hope this helps.

This is the first post in the Question and Answer series. Click here to get notified when a new post in the series goes life.

Are you bringing up a bilingual or multilingual child or are you a parent to be and have a question? 

Feel free to contact me.

For privacy protection I can change your name and omit some personal details, if you wish. 

Are you a multilingual family and looking for a playdate in your language? Click here to find it now!

You might also like:

7 facts that can determine the language spoken between multilingual siblings.  

How to read to a baby? Advice for parents of monolingual, bilingual or multilingual children. 

Multilingual Family Interview: When your home languages are different from community language. Resources for Teaching Phonics and Reading to Children.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Get Your Hero to clean your home - Sweepstake.

Do you live in Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid or Paris? Are you tired of cleaning your apartment and putting toys in place? - Then this is for you!

Imagine that you can forget about cleaning your apartment for just one day. Leave your house, enjoy quality time together with your family, just to return to a place that shines and full of order!

Or you can use that extra 3 hours of free time to visit a beauty salon, have your hair done or just run some errands before St. Valentines?

This month we would like to give you the unique opportunity to WIN a coupon for 3 hours of cleaning services from GYH .

What is GYH?

GYH is your Hero of today :)

GYH - Get Your Hero - is an online platform that allows to easily book cleaning services for both private customers and business in Europe.
It is simple in use :
You type the local postal code in order to verify the availability of the service.
Select the details of the house that needs to be cleaned.
Choose the preferred day and time to receive the visit of GYH cleaning professional.
Decide either request a single cleaning or opt for a subscription.
Pay with a credit card or via PayPal.
Then Enjoy! There will be no more need to look for a professional to clean your home or office:)

As of today the company offers cleaning services in

Milan, Italy
Rome, Italy
Paris, France
Madrid, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

GYH customer support team speaks English, Italian, Spanish, German and French.

Who can enter the Sweepstake:

Entry is open to all subscribers of Raising a Trilingual Child Newsletter, members of multilingual families that live in one of the above listed cities, where service is available. Please check the GYH service availability by entering your postal code on their website:


How to enter:

The Get Your Hero Sweepstake opens on January, 14 2015 and closes midnight February, 8 2015.
It is quick and easy to enter.
1. Fill in the form below.
2. Like and Share the Sweepstake with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Email … Comment after sharing in the comment field below to get an extra entry to increase your chances to win.

Winner selection:

Every entry will be assigned a unique number. The winner will be randomly selected by using the random number generator the next day after the sweepstake ends. The lucky winner's name will be publish on the website. The coupon will be emailed to the winner on February, 9 2015.

The Sweepstake is void where prohibited by law.

Good Luck!

Are you a multilingual family and looking for a playdate in your language? Click here to find it now!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Life Story: Laguages are just a huge part of who I am.

Parents play an important role in child's life. Sometimes one little thing we do can change child's life completely.  Those who immigrated to a different country will find Marianna Du Bosq's story deeply touching.  She became bilingual ( English and Spanish ) as a teenager and  now raises a trilingual child, who speaks  English, Spanish and German. 

First Day of Middle School
Marianna and her sister at public middle school
My multilingual journey starts approximately twenty years ago when my family and I left everything behind and moved from Caracas, Venezuela to the United States in search of the American dream. We left everyone we loved and everything we owned in search of new opportunities with education at the top of our list.

Prior to this point I had learned some English but it was all very basic. I had taken some after school classes in Venezuela and had some instruction here and there at my school but my knowledge was fairly limited. I could maybe name all the colors, list some fruits, identify the names of family members, count to a hundred and make some very very basic sentences. A far cry from what I needed to know to communicate in the eighth grade. The idea of the moving to a whole new country, culture and language was quite intimidating! Yet to be honest, I was also just so excited that I really had no idea what a challenge learning a whole new language would be and just what was waiting for me on the other side.

Unfortunately the local public school in my new neighborhood in the United States was simply not equipped to handle English Language Learners. My sister and I were placed in a trailer in the back of our school where rather than learning English, our teachers spoke Spanish to us and showed movies every day because it was the easy thing to do. 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were packed into one classroom that became more of a holding cell than a place of learning. My parents and I knew that it wasn’t right and at the most basic level, we were being denied a full and fair education. Yet we felt helpless! We were in a new country, did not know how navigate the public school system, let alone how to advocate for our needs or those of fellow students and families.

So here I was as an eighth grader knowing that high school was just around the corner and basically wasting an entire academic school year. We knew that if I attended the local high school a similar fate would await. Until one day, a brochure for magnet high schools arrived in our mailbox. (Magnet schools are typically public academically selective schools with specialized curriculum that tend to be more advanced with their content. They are also called specialist schools in other parts of the world.)
I excitedly devoured through the high school brochure and as a family, we attended the open house for each one but time after time my application was denied simply because I was labeled as an English as a Second Language student, commonly referred to as ESL. Can you imagine how frustrated my family and I felt? Once again, we felt helpless!

And then the very last school visit came, this was it, this was my only chance, what felt like my only way to get the education I felt I deserved! My father and I met with the program director and I so vividly remember this conversation. My father basically begged. I remember him speaking with the director trying to convince him to let me into the program. He said “Please take a chance on my daughter, she’s a good kid, she’s a smart kid, you will not be disappointed!” It’s been a long time since that day yet I can’t help but choke up every time I think of that story. I am thankful to my parents for a lot of things, but this one, this moment is certainly at the top of the list.

My father’s plea was not in vain since Mr. Rogers…. I’ll never forget his name, took that chance on me and my life was forever changed. See that school ended up being an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, one of the most prestigious and academically rigorous programs in the world, what are the odds? The education that was provided to me by that program was just simply top-notch. It took a lot of hard work and I mean a lot of hard work but I caught up to my peers with my English and even started dabbling with other languages and took four semesters of French.
By the end of my high school experience, I was graduating with an IB Diploma which is revered by universities worldwide. But that collective experience of struggle with language ignited a passion in me at an early age to help others on their language journey.

teaching at school
So now let’s fast forward four years and I am in my senior year of college and I am feeling like the sky is the limit. I learned a lot in college even minored in French and at the time I was focusing on law school as my next step. Until I started hearing about a program called Teach for America and I immediately fell in love with the concept. Teach for America (TFA) is an organization that recruits a diverse group of leaders with a record of achievement who work to expand education opportunity by teaching for two years in a low-income community to ensure that kids growing up in poverty obtain an excellent education.

Once I heard about the program and its mission, I tossed my idea of law school to the side, applied to TFA and was accepted to the Chicago Corps. I knew deep down that I wanted to help children who were in a similar education situation to mine specifically English Language Learners.

I attended a rigorous training institute with access to extensive professional development to help me become a strong classroom leader. Ultimately, I was selected to teach at a dual language public school on the West Side of Chicago in a beautiful Mexican American community and so my experience now as a bilingual educator began. 
This particular school educates its students through a dual language model in which students were taught literacy and content in both Spanish and English. This was by far the hardest job I have ever had but easily the most rewarding. While I was teaching I obtained a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction and learned many strategies that I used in the classroom to help dual language learners.

Juliet & WorldNow fast forward almost another ten years and although I am no longer a teacher, I now have my very own classroom at home. For I now have an amazing little girl that my husband and I are raising bilingual. So here I am in a different bilingual facet, that of a parent. I speak Spanish to my daughter and my husband speaks English to her following the One Parent One Language Model. It is worth noting that my husband does not speak Spanish which presents plenty of challenges yet interestingly enough he is actually picking up quite a bit of Spanish from my conversations with my daughter. Although it has been a beautiful experience there are plenty of hurdles we have had to overcome in a bilingual household.

Marianna-Family-in-GermanyNow as if that wasn’t enough, turns out my husband’s job has taken us as a family to the Black Forest in Germany for the next year. Not only have we now introduced a third language for my daughter but here I am as an adult, learning a brand new language and going through the adventures and challenges that come with that!

Languages are just a huge part of who I am. I’ve had the highs and the lows that come with the language journey yet I would not change a thing as they have all helped to shape who I am today.

Marianna Du Bosq is the founder of Bilingual Avenue, a podcast and a blog dedicated to help parents raising bilingual children. Tune in to the podcast for insightful interviews with experts and parents as they share best practices, failures, obstacles and inspiration to guide your journey with bilingual children.

Please contact me, if you are interested to participate in the Life Story series and write about your experience as a bilingual or multilingual child and/or a parent. Or take part in the Multilingual Family Interview series.

You might also like reading:

Bilingualism and speech delay. How can you help?

How to read to a baby? Advice for parents of monolingual, bilingual or multilingual children.

More delight, less doubt. Bringing up a trilingual child – the beginning 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Find a Playdate in YOUR Language

I know how it is sometimes hard to find a platedate for your child. It is even harder, if you are a multilingual family and looking for a playdate in your language.

With a thought of you and with a wish to help many multilingual parents around the word, I offer you an opportunity to find each other just simply filling out the form below and waiting for a match to occur.

Try it!

There might be a great family living next to you down the block, with whom you will be able to share the joy and worries of raising multilingual children!

It is simple!

In the form below put

The city and the country you live in.

Language you would like to speak during a playdate.
There is also a field to add another language , if you are interested in more than one.

The child's year of birth, in order to match the families with children of the same age whenever is possible.

And your email address to send the matched family contact info. Your email will be kept confidential and will be used strictly to make a contact with other families. If you are interested to subscribe to the Raising a Trilingual Child newsletter, you would need to follow this link or use a form on the webside's side bar.

Feel free to share the information about this opportunity with others!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why You Should Visit Italy During Winter Holiday Season and Why You Should Not.

I am keeping the promise I made last year to tell you more about Christmas in Italy.

Winter in Italy is cold and not sunny if you listen to Italians living there.  Visitors from northern parts of this world would not agree with that statement.  Take Milan, one of the biggest cities up north; it has on average 11 sunny days in December.  Yes, there is thick morning fog some mornings.  But it is beautiful!  You feel like the famous Russian hedgehog in the fog!  I love this cartoon, BTW!  Watch it, if you have not seen it.  It also has English subtitles!

If you do not come to Italy for weather, you should come for the spirit of the holiday season, that is so unique! Every single church, and in Italy there are many, has its own “presepio” display - a nativity scene. Presepe can be small, can be big and they can be LIVE!

No matter what religion you follow (if you follow at all) you must see them! This is creative art work with lights and often with animation or theatrical performance.

This is a video of  "Presepe Vivente" in Milan.

Here is the Presepio from the last year in Rome:

Presepio - nativity scene Rome Italy

Beautiful isn’t it?

If you are in Rome, you may like to stop by Presepio museum on Via Tor de’ Conti, 31/a near Chiesa dei Ss Quirico e Giulitta.  It is open on Tuesdays and Sundays 17.00 - 19.30 year around except August.

If running around and visiting churches is not your cup of tea, you probably the type who enjoys good food. Good news for you! This is panettone time! Traditional sweet Christmas bread from Milan.

You can find amazing panettone for every budget! For 3 euro at the discounted supermarket and for 50 euro at pastry shop. And Yes! They worth every penny!

Panettone Italian Christmas sweet bread

If you do not like raisins and orange pills in your sweets, and never developed a taste for Panettone, I have good news for you! Try Pandoro. The name comes from “Pan d’oro” which means “Golden bread”. It is also traditional Italian Christmas sweet from the north; Verona this time. Sorry no photo here, as I do not share your passion… If you are up to try to make one yourself, check these wonderful websites (in Italian): Pandoro recipe version1 , Pandoro recipe version 2 , which were recommended by my friends - Italian foodies living in the States, who create amazing Italian sweets at home!

Talking about sweets, I must mention Panforte, a traditional Italian desserts from Siena. It is hard and made out of flour mixed with sugar, honey, nuts, fruits and spices. M-m-m. It is a taste bomb. Same story as with the above listed sweets. There are commercially made Panforte, which are good, and there are ones made in a pastry shop, which are incredibly good! You have to try them. Each and every one tastes different!

Panforte hard Italian sweet

If you have friends in Italy, who invited you to share with them a Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas day lunch, expect a multiple course meal. Christmas Eve dinner is a typically centered around fish and it’s over just in time for you to attend the midnight mass at the church. Christmas Day lunch is a big event in any Italian family, when all relatives gather for a long and cheerful family meal and celebration.

Also, I would like to warn you. Italy is a small country with such a diverse variety of food based on a region. So do not be surprised if you will be served totally different type of food! (for instant, meat instead of fish).

If what I listed above is not enough, you will definitely enjoy topping off your Italian vacation with purchase of some made in Italy shoes and clothes for the whole family. You can even get everything on sale, if you push your departure to after January 6. (scoop some winter sales)

If you are in Milan, don’t forget to have a walk on Monte Napolione - the famous shopping street.

Versace store Milan Italy

You ask me: What are the reasons for not going to Italy during winter? Well, I share the same sentiments regarding weather as most Italians. It’s so awful when only half of the month in winter is sunny :) (The ratio is so much better in summers!) Really, I can’t find any reasons for not visiting!

How did you like my teaser? :) Stop by my website for more exciting details next year!

Are you already hungry?
Click on the pictures and get some sweets delivered to you by Amazon!


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This post was written for the MKB Christmas in Different lands series. Everyday from 1st to 24 of December bloggers around the World share how Christmas is celebrated where they live.

MKB christmas in different lands

You might also like:

7 principles to keep in mind while teaching your child to read.

How to develop early phonemic awareness and reading readiness by using language play with kids from birth to preschool.  

List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci

International, Bilingual schools and Early childhood education institutions in Rome, Italy

Life Story. Our trilingual story: It’s all Greek, Italian and French to me! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Life Story: A language story that spans two centuries.

If you are undecided whether you should pass your mother tongue onto your child or not, read this story. 
Lets take a look at the way international families life was back in the last century. 
Back then, parents had many obstacles in preserving and passing their mother tongue onto their children.  
I can only say: Today we are very lucky! We have so much support coming from all around us! Let's make sure that our children can speak at least two languages because, as Danuta Rosevear says, "... knowing a language well also means understanding other people’s desires, needs and worries..."

There are some wonderful tales of multilingual lives on this website; my story though is very much minus the second language element!
However, as you can see from my website "Singing Games for Children", coming from an international family with several, mostly European strands, has left me with an enduring interest for other languages and that is one of the reasons for deciding to translate many delightful songs into English from French, Polish, Spanish, Catalan and Dutch albeit with the help from my global friends and relatives.

My Russian grandmother, Polish grandfather, my father at the back in 1935
Danuta's Polish grandfather,
father, Russian grandmother 1935
My Russian grandmother came from a well connected family in Leningrad (now St-Petersburg); it was there she met my Polish grandfather and fled to Poland after a long and perilous journey during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Once in Poland life continued to be one of unrest as parts of Poland were annexed first by Russia and then Germany. I believe he was required to speak German at school at one time.
My father was born in Pinsk and as a teenager joined the Polish Army. When this area was annexed by the Russians he and many others were classed as traitors and taken en masse on a forced march to prisoner of war camps in Siberia. I don’t know if my father had learnt Russian from his mother at home but knowing more than just the ‘mother tongue’ would have been very useful under these difficult circumstances. As part of the political upheavals during World War 2 he came to England with Anders Army through many countries and down to the Black Sea. When he arrived in Britain he became a pilot in the Polish air force.

Sisters and Polish and Italian husbands
In the 1940s / 50s my father was determined to become an 'Englishman' and to him that meant speaking English at home. Most of his comrades had married English girls and soon all spoke good English. My maternal ‘English’ (both her parents were Irish) grandmother had three daughters – my mother married a Pole, one married a Frenchman, the other an Italian – Brighton was a very cosmopolitan town at the end of WW2!
My cousins who had an Italian father had the same experience as me and spoke only English at home. One of these in her early 20s moved to Italy and married an Italian. Her children spoke only Italian at home; she is now nearing her 70s and is no longer confident speaking and especially writing English! My French cousins who were raised mostly in France did become bilingual however. One who now lives in Australia rarely now has the opportunity to speak French.

Returning from Malaya
on a troopship SS Empire Orwell 1956

My older brother who had shown no particular promise at languages at school started learning Polish out of interest at 18. He then went on to learn Russian and French and is now pretty fluent in all three languages. He is a language teacher in Paris. It might be better to learn at mother / father’s knee but it’s never too late to learn! He was speaking Polish better than my father at one time according to the family in Poland. Like me none of my other siblings can speak another language well. We were not in contact with my paternal relations in Poland because of the Cold War; my father was unable to visit his mother for ten years so we had no contact with them until later in life. I do remember as a child going to ‘Polish Mass’ at the local RC church on a Sunday but have more vivid memories of the grumpy old priest who kicked the alter if the congregation came in later rather than the ‘strange’ language people spoke – the Mass was in Latin at that time!

Four nationalities reunited for Danuta's wedding celebration in 1972

It would have been wonderful to have been raised in a home where more than one language was spoken but people were much more nationalistic in their thinking in the post war years and unable to appreciate how knowing a language well also means understanding other people’s desires, needs and worries and perhaps leading to less of the historical turmoil I’ve written about above. Understanding of other languages can be a route for bringing people together rather than pushing them apart.

Class Danuta taught
in Handsworth, Birmingham
I taught young children in Handsworth, Birmingham
in the 1960s - my class had two thirds of the pupils from the West Indies, mostly second generation Jamaicans. The other third were from the Punjab and their mothers spoke very little English and were often housebound as a result. Their children often became excellent translators. I later came across children from many other countries during my teaching years and enjoyed finding musical and other ways to support their language and cultural needs.
During my years as a teacher I taught mainly 4-7 year olds; young children are much more comfortable than adults singing in an unfamiliar language even if they do not always understanding the meaning. So many songs and rhymes have nonsense words in them, just think of the pleasure these words give even us older souls when these words rhyme and have rhythm. Young children greet foreign and unknown words with the same interest and alertness! I remember stopping my older child as a three year old from persisting in "naughtiness" with words  that he had not heard before – it worked a treat.

Awareness of other lives, cultures and languages gave me a delight in the singing traditions of other countries - hence the website and You Tube channel once I retired. You can find many songs and singing games in their original language and in translation on my website at: Singing Games for Children. I also have a YouTube channel , where I sing non-English songs mostly in translation. I sing the French ones in their original language though I have to rely on my rusty 0 level French to do so. How I’d love to be able to sing the Polish ones in their original language!

Danuta Rosevear: Born 1946

Please contact me, if you are interested to participate in the Life Story series and write about your experience as a bilingual or multilingual child and/or a parent.

You might also like reading:

"No English!" Motivation is the key.

7 facts that can determine the language spoken between multilingual siblings. 

Life Story: Trilingual mama - trilingual kid. Why would it be any other way? 

Raising Bilingual / Multilingual child. Where to start? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

International, Bilingual schools and Early childhood education institutions in Rome, Italy


International and bilingual nursery, preschool, elementary, middle and high schools in Rome, Italy

If you live in Rome and are looking for an international school, a bilingual school or early childhood institution, or a school with French, English, Russian, German, Spanish as a primary language for your child look at this kindergarten and school's list.


Could you help make this list more complete?

I’d love your help so this list can be as complete as possible.

Is there a bilingual daycare or school in Rome, Italy that is not listed here?

Let me know by leaving a comment on this post or emailing at trilingualchildren [at] I’ll be happy to share it with other parents.  I hope this school list comes in handy for you either you are Italian and would like your child to learn a new language or an expat living in Rome.

Share your experience.

If your child attends or attended one of these schools, please leave a comment and tell us what you think about it.

What is named what in Italian Education.

Compulsory education in Italy is from 5 - 16 years, which includes 5 years of "Scuola Primaria" (Elementary school), 3 years of "Schuola Secondaria di primo grado" ( Middle School) and 2 years of
Scuola Secondaria di secondo grado ( High School)

Below are names of educational institutions in Italian and children's age:

"Asilo Nido"  (3 month - 3 years) 

"Scuola dell'Infanzia" or "Asilo" or "Scuola Materna"or ( 3 - 6 years)
Note: An earlier entrance is possible for children, who turn 3 years before 31 December based on availability.

"Scuola Pimaria" or "Scuola Elementare" ( 6 - 10 years)

"Scuola Secondaria di primo grado"  or "Scuola Media" or "Scuola Media Inferiore" (11-13 years)

"Scuola Secondaria di secondo grado" or Schuola Media Superiore (14-19 years)
different choice of schools: 
  • Liceo (Artistico, Classico, Linguistico, Musicale e Coreutico, Scientifico , delle Scienze Umane),  
  • Istituto Tecnico (Economico, Tecnologico )  
  • Istituto Professionale

If you'd like to learn more about Italian education system, read this article on Wikidedia

If you use any information form this website, please link back to me. Thank you!

List of Schools:


La Maisonnette
Trilingual School : Nursery school, Kindergarten, Elementary school, Summer school
Language: English - French - Italian

AGE: 3 month and up

Main school:
Via Treviso
29 00161 Roma
Tel. +39 06 44240517

Affiliated Centers:
Viale del Monte Oppio 7
00184 Roma
Tel. +39 06 4873185

Viale dell'Umanesimo 72-74
00144 Roma
Tel. +39 06 5910339

Via Alessandro Rolla, 5
00124 Infernetto (Roma)
Tel. +39 06 5053422

Via Olmetti 3z
00060 Formello (Roma)
Tel. +39 06 90405045
Cell. +39 3888708673

Via Tripolitania 175/181
00199 Roma
Tel. +39 06 86214960

Viale Liegi 48/c
00198 Roma
Tel: +39 06 64780765
Cell +39 333 4497994

Asilo Nido " Villa delle Rondine"
Bilingual Nursery
Language: French - Italian and English
Age: 3 month -  3, 5 years
Via delle Fornaci 251-265
00165 Roma
Tel. +39 06 45434731
Cell +39 339 3950192

Lycée Chateaubriand
Kindergarden,  Primary and Secondary School
Language: French 
Age: 3 - 17
Via di Villa Ruffo, 31 (Kindergarden)
00196 Roma
Tel: +39 06 441604501
Via di Villa Patrizi, 9 (Elementary school)
00161 Roma
Tel: +39 06 441604501

Institut Saint Dominique
Baby Parking, Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary School
Language: French
Age: 13 month - 17 years
Via Igino Lega 5 / Via Cassia 1173
00189 Roma
Tel: +39 06 30310817

I Piccoli Delfini
Asilo Nido and  Bilingual Kindergarten ( Scuola Materna )
Languages: Italian - English, French
Activities for children age 4 - 10 years in English and French
Age: 0 - 6 years
via Giovanni Botero, 16a
00179 Roma
Cell  +39 392 3555513 - 320 0140352 - 329 5912920 - 320 0140086

Le Fate Turchine
Asilo Nido and Scuola Materna, Course of French for children once a week, plus private lessons, Theater for children in English ( age 3-6, 7-11 years)
Language: Italian , French once a week as a lesson, English theater
Age: 1 - 7 years
Via delle Fornaci di Tor di Quinto, 10
00191 Roma
Tel. +39 06 62280465


The Giving Tree
Bilingual Asilo Nido, Scuola dell'infanzia & English playgroup
Languages: Italian - English
Age: 3 month - 6 years
viale XXI Aprile 15
Tel. +39 06 83709708
Cell. +39 327 1959967

Bilingual Asilo Nido and Scuola Infanzia
Languages: English - Italian
Age: 4 month - 5 years
via del Casale Cavallari 14,
00156 Roma
Tel. 06 41222128
Cell +39 329 0783752

Little Star Daycare International School
Nursery and Kindergarten
Language: English
Age: 4 month - 5 years
via Cassia 344
00191 Roma
Tel. +39 06 33429578
Cell. +39 348 5450050

Il Nido e le Nuvole
Asilo Nido Bilingue & English courses for children 4-8 years old
Languages: English - Italian
Age: 4 month - 5 years
via Nomentana 331/A,
00162 Roma
Tel +39 06 45436798

ABC kids
Language: English
Age: 2,5 month - 6 years
via Giovanni Animuccia, 11
Tel +39 06 86206599

Greenwood Garden School
International Pre-school and Kindergarten
Language: English
Age: 2 - 6 years 
Via Vito Sinisi 5
00189 Roma
Tel. 063326-6703

Petranova International Institute
Asilo Nido, Scuola della Infanzia, Scuola Primaria, Scuola Secondaria di 1° Grado
Bilingual project 
Languages: Italian, English from age 4
Age:3 month - 13
Via Pavia, 23
00161 Roma
Tel. +39 06 44292551

Junior International Institute
Bilingual Elementary School (Scuola Primaria Bilingue), Secondary school ( Scuola Secondaria di 1° Grado)

Language: Italian - English
Age: 6 - 13 years
Via G.B. De Rossi, 48
00161 Roma
Tel. +39 06 44239356

Ambrit International School
Early Childhood,  Primary,  Middle School
Language: English
Age: 3 - 13 years
Via F. Tajani 50
00149 Rome
Tel. +39 06 5595305

American Overseas School of Rome
Pre-Kindergarten , Elementary , Middle,  High School,  Boarding
Language: English is the primary language.  All students study Italian. Other languages offered include Spanish, French and Mandarin.
Age: 3- 18 years
Via Cassia 811
00189 Roma
Tel. +39 06 334381

Castelli Kindergarten
Language: English
Age: 2,5 -6 years
Via dei Laghi, 8
00047 Marino (Roma)
Tel. +39 06 93661311

Castelli International School Rome
International, Bilingual Elementary and Middle School
Languages: English, Itaian
Age: 6-13 years
Via degli Scozzesi, 13
00046 Grottaferrata (Roma)
Tel. +39 06 94315779 

Core International School in Rome
Nursery,  Primary School
Language: English , Italian starts from age 5
Age: 3 - 11 years
Via Crati 19
00199 Roma
Tel. +39 06 8411137

Marymount International School
Early Childhood to Grade 12
provided ESL teacher support
Language: English
Age: 3 - 17 years
Via di Villa Lauchli 180 (Via Cassia Antica Km. 7)
00191 Roma
Tel. +39 06 3629101

Rome International School
Kindergarten , Elementary, Middle and High School
Languages: English
Age: 2-18 years
Via Panama, 25
00198 Roma
tel. +39 06 84482650 - 06 84482651

St. Francis International School
Early Childhood , Primary and Middle School
Language: English
Age: 3 - 13 years
Via S. Borgia 85
00168 Roma
Tel. +39 06 35511023

St. George's  British International School
Preschool, Elementary, Middle and High school
Language: English
Age: 3-18 years
Via Cassia Km. 16
00123 Roma
Tel. +39 06 3086001

St. Stephen's School
Day and Boarding International High School
Language: English is required as a first language, Italian and French are optional as first languages
Age: 14 -19 years
Via Aventina 3
00153 Roma
Tel. +39 06 5750605

Southlands English School in Rome
Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools
Language: English, French and Italian from age 5
Age: 3- 18 years
Via Teleclide 40
00124 Casalpalocco (Roma)
Tel. +39 06 5053932

The New School Rome
Nursery, Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary School
Language: English
Age:  3- 18 years
Via della Camilluccia 669
00135 Roma
Tel. +39 063294269

Kendale Primary International School
Pre-school, Elementary School
Language: English is the primary language, Italian, French introduction from 7 years
Age:3-10 years
Via Gradoli, 86
Rome, 00189
Tel. +39 06 33267608

Little Genius International
Nursery and Primary School, Children's Afterschool English language course, Playgroup, Summer school
Language: English is the primary language, Italian (daily lessons)
Age: 2-10 years
Via Grotte Portella 28
Frascati 00044 (RM)
Tel. +39 06 97245148
Mobile: +39 346 0823360



Secondary School of Russian Embassy in Rome
Cредняя школа при посольстве России в Италии
Language: Russian
Age: 6 - 16  years
Villa Abamelek
Via Cava Aurelia 199
00165 Roma
Tel.+39 06 634800, 06 4440080


La Scuola Svizzera di Roma
Bilingual Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and High School
Language: German - Italian
Age: 2- 18 years
Via Marcello Malpighi 14
00161 Roma
Middle and high school:
via Savoia 15
00198 Roma
Tel +39 06 4402109

Deutsche Schule Rom - Scuola Germanica Roma
Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary School
Two diplomas: German abitur and Italian maturità
Languages: German with  excellent  knowledge of Italian, English, Latin and French
Age: 3 - 18 years
Via Aurelia Antica 397-403
00165 Roma
Tel. +39 06 6638 776


Liceo Espanol Cervantes
Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary School
Language: Spanish
Age: 3 - 18 years
Via di Porta San Pancrazio, 9
00153 Roma
Tel. +39 06 5882252

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Multilingual Family Interview: When your home languages are different from community language.

multilingual family interview

You are a bilingual or a trilingual family living abroad.  You and your spouse have been speaking your mother tongues since the child’s birth.  And here you realize that the school time is approaching soon. You are worried how your child would do at school, since you did not teach your child the country language. 

How would he go to school in the community language?  Will he be able to communicate?  What can I do to help him?  These and many other questions I asked Richard and Agnieszka, English and Polish speakers, who found their home in Spain.  They are successfully raising trilingual children, who speak English, Polish and Spanish everyday.

Question 1:  Where do you live now and where did you live before?

Answer:  We live in Madrid. We moved here from the Netherlands in 2006 when our eldest was 18 months. He was born there. We moved without children to the Netherlands from Poland in 2003.

Question 2:  How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Answer:  Gavin will be 10 in 2 months , Veronica is 7 1/2, and Nicolas is 3 1/2.

Question 3:  Please describe your multilingual family language situation. Who speaks what language? What language approach do you follow?

Answer: My (Richard's) native language is English. Aga's is Polish. But we both speak these languages and Spanish pretty (Aga very) comfortably. My Polish is the worst, but still I almost never fail to understand conversations involving our kids.
Aga and I both only ever speak our respective native languages to the children (unless, rarely, we want some third party to understand). And the children universally speak to us in that same language.
The children (notably Veronica at the moment) do however quite often mix languages - but the syntax and base vocabulary make the language that they are fundamentally speaking very clear. The mixing is largely attaching endings from one language to words from another and in non-basic vocabulary.
Agnieszka and I speak to each other in Polish and English in roughly equal proportions.

Question 4:  At what age did your children get exposed to the community language and how (daycare, playgroups, television at home…)?

Answer:  Our kids were all introduced to Spanish in nursery school. All went for at least a year before starting school proper - which starts very early here - almost universally in the September of the calendar year when the child turns 3. Neither Gavin nor Veronica had any problems of note by the time they reached school (not even much in Nursery). Nicolas seemed to adapt similarly well to Nursery. But when he just recently started school he was slow to start speaking to his teachers. This problem seems now to have considerably faded.
Television I see as an important way to broaden their exposure to English (and Polish). But they do watch a reasonable amount to TV in Spanish.

Question 5.  What language Gavin and Veronica started speaking to each other? Did their language preference change over time?

Answer:  Until I guess about 18 months ago they still spoke to each other regularly in all three languages, Spanish having arrived last, but around then I noticed that they switched to almost always speaking Spanish.
I suspect that the first language that they spoke to each other was probably Polish, but in fact I don’t remember, so it may be that they used Polish or English depending on the context. I guess Polish because Veronica had a Polish woman looking after her during the day when she was 1-2. But at this point Gavin’s English may still have been better than his Polish.
Currently Gavin and Veronica Speak only (or almost only) Polish with Nicolas.

Question 6:  How old were the children when started a nursery school? Did I understand right that they were about 2 years old?

Answer:   Gavin was about 20 months, Veronica about 28 months, and Nicolas about 27.

Question 7.  What school did your children go to (bilingual immersion school, regular school...)?

Answer:   Bilingual in theory – part of a Madrid programme for bilingualism in state-funded schools. They are taught almost half the time in English (from 6 years old). But there are almost no other non-Spanish-native pupils, and English is not used at all apart from in lessons.

Question 8.  What languages as subject do they study there?

Answer:  English is taught from 3, and more seriously from 6. I worry a bit that this could bore our kids, but it doesn’t seem to have been a big problem yet. Gavin, I believe, has mostly learned only spelling in lessons at school, so I expect it is or will be, at best, a significant waste of time.
They are also taught French, at low intensity, from 6.

Question 9.  When your children went to school, how did they integrate? What was their proficiency level of community language? Were you and / or teachers concerned?

Answer:  We had sent them to nursery specifically to help avoid this sort of problem. And it seemed to work better than I expected. Even just one year.
The teachers were a little concerned initially – but positive. Gavin’s first teacher – a veteran of probably 30 years’ experience and a very good teacher it turned out – shocked me by telling me that he had NEVER had a non-Spanish-native child in his class. There are almost no immigrants in the area we are in.
However Gavin and Veronica may have been a little quiet at first, but when I ask about their level of Spanish I was told it was indistinguishable from that of the other kids. As mentioned earlier, Nico was even more quiet, but is now improving.

Question 10.  What did you do, if anything, to support your children at school?

Answer:  I use Khan Academy with both Gavin and Vero for maths. But with regard to language there has been no need.

Question 11:  What language do you speak to them, when you help them with homework?

Answer:  (Richard) English, throwing in the odd Spanish word to make sure they know it for class. Except when (only occasionally) helping with Spanish language homework in which case I speak Spanish mostly.

Question 12:  What do you think is important for a parent to do or pay attention to in order to insure that children’s knowledge of the community language is enough for performing well at elementary school?

Answer:  For us nursery was enough. More recently I also allow them to watch a fraction (maybe 1/3) of TV in Spanish. This primarily so they have the vocabulary (mostly character names etc) to talk to their school-friends.

Question 13:  Many parents are worried, that their child might have a communication problem with peers. That they are going to be teased because of an accent or inability to express her/himself in the community language at the same level as kids of their age do. Could you share your experience in this regards?

Answer:  Our kids have not to our knowledge experienced this sort of problem. Any trouble with peers has been for other reasons. We may be helped in this regard by the fact that 'school' in Spain starts so very early. Some kids are still well short of turning three - and so presumably some native monolinguals also barely speak.

Question 14:  How did you help the kids to understand how to separate 3 languages and improve their speech skills?

Answer:  We didn't do anything specific here other than try to expose them to plenty of all three languages through different media.

Question: 15:  In what language did your children learn to read and write first? Did you teach them? If yes, how did you do it?

Answer:  English. I taught Gavin and Veronica before the school started on reading. But I taught only reading - almost no writing. I used phonics books from a couple of different series (Jolly Phonics and Oxford Songbirds principally) then used a lot of Usborne graded readers. In addition I used flash cards (also from Usborne), showed then a nice BBC series, Alphablocks, and more recently used the online learning game Reading Eggs.  (Click to read more about mentioned phonics resources)

I would like to thank this wonderful family for the interview and for this unique opportunity Richard and Agneszka are giving us to learn more about what awaits us, parents to be and parents with small kids.

If you would like to share your family experience,  whatever it is good or bad,  feel free to contact me

Are you successfully raising bilingual or multilingual children? or do you have regrets about something you have not done on time? Please do not keep it for yourself, share it with other parents, by writing a comment or by contacting me for an Interview or by joining great contributors in the Life Story series. You will help thousands of readers!

Resources for Teaching Phonics and Reading to Children:

Alphablocks is children's educational television program. It aims to teach children how to spell with the use of animated blocks representing each letter.

Phonics with Alphablocks on Amazon

Alphablocks on YouTube

Jolly Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics program designed to teach children to read and write. Children learn the letter sounds, rather than the alphabet. They are then taken through the stages of blending and segmenting words to develop reading and writing skills.

Jolly Phonics on Amazon

Jolly Phonics on Youtube

Oxford Songbirds make phonics fun! Series of 60 stories by Julia Donaldson. Levels 1 to 6 .

Oxford Songbirds on Amazon

Usborne First Reading - book series by Usborne publiser that is based on the principles of synthetic phonics. There are 7 books in each series and each book in the series builds on material in the previous books.

Usborne Very First Reading on Amazon 
Usborne Start to Read pack on Amazon

Usborne Very First Reading website -  learn more about the books, how they work. Information for parents and teachers. Plus resources with extra reading and wring practices. Printable sheet of practice words, fun activities and recording of the sounds of 44 phonemes

Reading Eggs - online reading application, where children are able to progress at their own rate.

Visit Reading Eggs website for more info.

Reading Eggs on Amazon

You might also like reading:

7 principles to keep in mind while teaching your child to read.  

Teaching the letter sounds before letter names.

Planting a language tree. Does passive language learning work?

Life Story. Our trilingual story: It’s all Greek, Italian and French to me!