Bilingual For Fun is organizing Playgroups, i.e. opportunities for adults and children to meet and play in English, German, French, Spanish, name it! Basically in any language other than Italian.
For practical reasons we start with English, but we’d love to open up soon to more languages. We like to think of a place (both real and virtual) where kids and families of multiple nationalities, languages and cultures can meet. Both to help each other nurturing a language, and to help children see the diversity of the world’s languages and culture.
It’s also for practical reasons that we are starting from Verona, where we have 2 Eglish Playgroups and we’d like to start soon one in French, and then we’ll move on to more languages and more towns of course, starting from Milan and Rome…
This is how we run our playgroups: parents and children meet to play and there is only one rule, we don’t speak any italian, only the playgroup’s language. This doesn’t mean that everybody must be a native speaker in that language of course, but everybody must be fluent in it. Whenever possible we also organise the playgroups by age range, one for small children, from first months up to about 3 years, and one for older children up to 6 years.
For the young ones the format is rather easy: we sing a song to open the playgroup and one to close it, defining the boundaries within which we do different things: we sing, play with toys, read books, act a situation (like Let’s all catch the train!), jump, eat a snack, do the animals’ sounds, in short anything that grabs children and parents’ attention. However songs are always among the most beloved moments, some children dance sitting on the floor, others really sing (its simply amazing how children can sing in a language they don’t speak!)
For elder children we can do more complex and articulated games, so there is much more planning involved to offer activities that are bth interesting and fun and stimulate kids to talk. In fact, the same children that see no reason to speak English at home (mostly following a perfectly sound logic) eventually speak it without even realising while playing.
See here for more informations on Playgroups and how they help children learn and speak the second language.