Piccolingo : supporting multilingual education for preschool children

The European Union is backing up language projects aimed to preschool children

“Every child should learn at least two languages”. The European Council.


The Piccolingo logo

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 :

  1. Encouraging language learning and promoting linguistic diversity in society.
  2. Promoting a healthy multilingual economy.
  3. 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.

Preschool girls

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.

3 responses to “Piccolingo : supporting multilingual education for preschool children

  1. Pingback: Bilingual children learn better ! « Lingua Franca Foundation

  2. I have opened immersion Spanish preschool in Dublin and need to educate parents as to the benefits of early 2nd language learning. This initiative is very welcome.

    • Hi Sandra,

      What a good idea ! How is it working ? We’d like to develop a project here in the Netherlands and the first contacts we had with a preschool were very encouraging. But some teachers or parents are still dubious or afraid of bilingual learning. Our children are fluent in Dutch and English and also speak a few Malay. But some teachers are very reluctant to this kind of education. There is still a long way to go…

      Thank you for your reaction, anyway.

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