Going Global: Introducing New Languages at Bookbug Sessions

During Bookbug Week 2016, we encouraged libraries, nurseries, and Early Years centres to embrace the theme of 'Around the World with Bookbug'. Families were encouraged to share songs and rhymes in different languages, and Bookbug Sessions had a very international feel to them for the week! Almost a year later, it's wonderful to see the legacy that this celebratory week has had. We still hear of songs and rhymes being shared in different languages at Bookbug Sessions, and in a pilot programme in Fife, this has been taken one step further. Tamsin Johnston, Development Officer for 1+2 Language Learning in Fife, explains a little more:

 

I have long held a passion for working with young children and believe that we should involve the whole family in teaching them. My job is to ensure that our schools have the trained staff and the confidence to deliver languages (in Fife, it’s mostly French, German and Spanish) through an immersive approach. I decided that Bookbug sessions would provide the ideal opportunity to start this language learning with families. 

Working with colleagues from the Power Language Platform, who are all native speakers from either France, Spain or Germany, our first job was to compile a small list of traditional songs and rhymes in the three languages. We worked closely with Sharron Brown (the Bookbug Co-ordinator for Fife) to identify four libraries, and the cluster schools around them, in which to pilot our language programme. With colleagues from the PLP, we’ve introduced library assistants and early years officers from local nurseries to these songs and rhymes. In addition, we bought French, Spanish and German story books for the nurseries and P1 classes in the pilot clusters. 

We armed our Bookbug session language enthusiasts with the YouTube addresses for videos of each song, copies of the words and actions and a new passion for language learning, and are delighted to hear such positive feedback coming back from the sessions. In 2017, I will be working with Sharron to train a new batch of library assistants along the same lines - hopefully they’ll all bring their singing voices to the training!

One of the traditional songs Tamsin has used in her training:

Frère Jacques (French)  Bruder Jacob (German)  Fray Santiago (Spanish) 
Frère Jacques
Frère Jacques
Dormez-vous?
Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines
Sonnez les matines
DING, DANG, DONG! DING, DANG, DONG!
Bruder Jacob
Bruder Jakob Bruder
Schläfst du noch?
Schläfst du noch?
Hörst du nicht die Glocken
Hörst du nicht die Glocken
DING, DANG, DONG! DING, DANG, DONG!
Fray Santiago
Fray Santiago
¿Duermes tu?
¿Duermes tu?
Tocan las campanas
Tocan las campanas
DING, DANG, DONG! DING, DANG, DONG

 

If you would like to introduce your own children to some traditional songs from other countries, songs like Frère Jacques above are a great place to start: it has a recognisable tune and great repetition for little ones. You can also find a number of Gaelic songs and rhymes on the Bookbug website.

Tamsin Johnston

Tamsin Johnston is Development Officer for 1+2 Language Learning in Fife.