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At Leichhardt Public School we choose to learn Italian because it is:
Children at Leichhardt Public School are fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the Community Language (Italian) program funded by the Commonwealth Government.
In these days of globalisation, increased ease of travel and advanced information and communication technologies, moving between countries, cultures and languages has become more commonplace.
High quality education in languages enables students to respond positively to the opportunities and challenges of our rapidly changing world.
Studying Italian provides opportunities for students at Leichhardt Public School to become more accepting of diversity, more respectful of others and more aware of their place in the international community.
Contemporary research and practice have established a clear link between the learning of a second language and improved literacy skills. Learning a language increases metalinguistic awareness and enhances cognitive development as it requires the student to focus on linguistic systems and patterns, so improving mental dexterity.
The rich Italian linguistic and cultural environment of Leichhardt and its surrounding suburbs provides an educational environment for learning Italian which is second to none, allowing children to engage fully in their language learning.
Italy and the Italian language play a significant role in global economic and cultural developments, while Australia and Italy have strongly developed cultural, industrial, trade and agricultural ties.
Studying Italian at Leichhardt Public School will provide our children with opportunities for improved literacy and interpersonal skills, for a future in an ever more globalised world.
– A parent’s perspective
When you were in primary school, did you learn a language from kindergarten? Not as an extra-curricular activity or something your parents had to pay extra for but just as part of your weekly school routine?
Singing, art, dancing, PE and library all existed during my time at the local primary school but the opportunity to learn another language and be exposed to a broader world through accessing that language was not even contemplated. Those lessons began in high school when the ability to pronounce words and roll ‘r’s’ was mired with teenage self-consciousness.
Not so for the children at our school today. Much has been researched about the ‘ear’ young children have for picking up language; much has also been said about the ease with which children from bilingual families can slip in and out of either language during the same conversation. It makes sense that starting another language early, while still developing their English, is only going to stimulate and enhance all language acquisition for our children.
All parents know that children are wonderful mimics, particularly in infants school. They pick up phrases from their teachers – ‘Oh my giddy aunt” spoken with an English lilt has been a favourite in our house – and accents of foreign friends speaking English.
Not surprising then is the Italian accent all kindergarten children seem able to create. When my daughter came home from school after only a couple of weeks rolling those r’s and singing a whole song in Italian, I thought she had a natural aptitude; she may not be able to read English but she is obviously a linguist!
Of course, it wasn’t long before realising that ALL children are intuitive linguists. In the same way that young children love playing around with the English language, picking up those interesting words and phrases, using them in different contexts, they love doing the same with the Italian they learn in the classroom.
At this age, they are not afraid or too self-conscious to try: they are still learning to grasp complex English words and sentences. What a relief it must be to go to a lesson and practise speaking and singing about la famiglia.
As they understand and remember more words and phrases, their confidence builds. How many times has your child counted the number of languages they ‘speak’ because they may happen to know one word? In our house we’re up to five and two of these languages are apparently Scottish and American because they mimic our friends’ accents.
Importantly, what comes with learning another language this young at school is the realisation that the world is a bigger place than their home, street, suburb, city or country. An early understanding that every country has its own language, customs and way of life can only help our children realise the many different perspectives that shape and inform everyday life.
Germaine Leece (Lily 2B, Ned KC)
On behalf of the LPS P&C
This term in Year 1 Italian our topic has been “I vestiti – Clothing”. As well as learning to name clothing items, the students have learnt colour adjectives and have been working hard to use them correctly to say what a person is wearing. This is a complex task for Year 1 students, as Italian adjectives may have up to four forms, as they must agree in both number and gender with the noun they modify. In addition, the word order of an Italian sentence containing an adjective is different from our English norm. These children are justly proud of the effort they put into drafting, working with an editing buddy, editing and then publishing their final copy, to show their very best efforts.