The European Union is backing up language projects aimed to preschool children
“Every child should learn at least two languages”. The European Council.
For the European Union, “multilingualism lies at the heart of the EU.” Therefore, the European Institutions, throughout the Lifelong Learning Program is supporting initiatives related to language learning. For the European Commission, there are 3 strands of the multilingualism policy :
Encouraging language learning and promoting linguistic diversity in society.
Promoting a healthy multilingual economy.
Promoting social integration through improved knowledge and acceptance of languages.
As languages are one of the four key activities, the Lifelong Learning Program offers a wide range of actions designed to support language learning, including language learning at an early age.
The European Union is launching a campaign, named Piccolingo, through the 27 Member States. This campaign aims at parents and seeks to raise awareness about the fact that young children who start learning languages at a very early age will, as they grow older, will confidently approach foreign languages and cultures.
Through the Piccolingo campaign, many parents will realise that learning languages before starting school is beneficial because their children will:
- Find communication easier
- Learn and memorise through play – good preparation for school
- Learn to be open-minded
- Feel at home in any country
- Increase their chances of finding a job
- Find foreign cultures alluring rather than threatening
- Appreciate their own culture
Piccolingo is also a network throughout Europe. Every association, group or network who wants to work in the field of early age language learning can be part of the scheme. Piccolingo supports actions such as :
- A cultural institute introducing parents and young children to language diversity during particular activities
- A child welfare association organising conferences on early language learning in a civic centre
- A local cultural association organising a multilingual storytelling event in a public library
- An immigrants’ association organising a multicultural event with immigrant families based on young children’s nursery rhymes from different countries
- A parents’ association organising a conference on early language learning at school
- A nursery school organising a multilingual event involving families
The support provided by the Piccolingo program consists essentially of sharing and mainstreaming.
Through the Piccolingo campaign, you can:
- Promote your initiatives and actions
- Present your organisation or network in a European directory
- Share and enrich your practices, resources and testimonials
- Use the Piccolingo logo for greater visibility
Find more about this program on the Piccolingo Website.
If you want to know more about the European Union Language Policy, visit this page.