About Planting Languages
Multilingualism and raising children: Generally seen as the responsibility and a commitment for each family individually. However, each individual linguistic context is becoming increasingly complex for parents and children:
- Various languages are being spoken in one single household;
- Some home languages are being redefined in their day-to-day use or as a cultural reference framework as a whole;
- Other languages are experiencing external pressure from society, be it positive or negative.
Planting Languages is a project focused on sustaining multilingual families and professionals in developing a Family Language Policy, in order to ensure optimal language development and well-being from the start.
In this process, parents and primary caregivers are the prime educators. Their basic choices are of utmost importance for the future of the child. They will have to stimulate language development from early childhood, by creating communication opportunities and stimulating the child's appetite for learning languages.
With Planting Languages, 5 international expert organizations decided to bundle their forces by setting up this initiative and create a number of tools, which are available in Dutch, English, French, Greek and Polish.
The tools include:
The manual with theoretical background and practical guide (available in English only).
- Reflection booklet: eight-steps activity that will help parents with their initial language planning.
- Videos: parents sharing experiences about their multilingual journey.
- Portraits: series of posters discussing challenges in multilingual parenting.
- Reminders: worksheets that help parents monitor their planning and the language development of their child.
- Language card: a card to explain the family language approach to others.
- Flyer: short informative text that encourages parents of various language backgrounds to consider the option of bringing up their child multilingually.
This website is useful for all young multilingual couples facing the challenge of multilingual upbringing.
Moreover, it aims to focus on the following specific target groups
1. Families with migration background
2. Families where more than one language is spoken
3. Practitioners in contact with these families
Meet the project partners:
Van Beekstraat 62, 2722BC
Meet the project team:
Hilde De Smedt is a speech therapist and has been working for more than 35 years in the Integration Centre Foyer in Brussels. She currently runs PIM (Partners in Multilingualism) an advisory service for multilingual families.
Marga van Mil is a preventive speech and language therapist for more than 20 years, focused on early detection of young children with language problems. She also studied ‘Dutch as a second language and multilingualism’ and is specialized in the assessments of young multilingual children and advising professionals and parents.
As a speech-language therapist in preventive speech/language therapy, Carien Deutman often works with multilingual families. She conducts consultations for young children with speech-language problems and provides training to parents and professionals about multilingualism.
Dr Isabelle Barth is a French and a consultant in languages, plurilingual education and intercultural communication. She founded Multilingual Café in 2010 and helps families and professionals on their plurilingual and multicultural path. She also does and research on family language policies and in particular for mixed families and migrant families.
Dr Anna Martowicz is a linguist and language teacher with interest in multilingualism, heritage language acquisition and multiliteracy; founder and CEO of the Association for the Promotion of Polish Language Abroad (APPLA), author of teaching materials and guidebooks for parents and teachers of multilingual children.
Patrizia Civetta is a teacher who can rely on 30 years of experience as an expert in education and social integration in Italy, in Belgium and in India. She currently works in Foyer, an integration centrebased in Brussels. She cooperates with primary, secondary schools and universities with interest in multilinguism and interculturality.
Dr Antri Kanikli is an Assistant Professor in Linguistics at UCLan Cyprus university. Her research interests focus on generative grammar, language disorders and multilingual acquisition. Antri is an experienced researcher. Her work has been published in top international linguistic journals and she has led several externally funded research projects, including the Planting Languages project for which she is the Partner Leader of UCLan Cyprus.
Soumaya Mousselli is a speech and language therapist with a great interest in multilingualism and language development in young children. She worked at Foyer for six years. The focus was on counseling sessions with parents about multilingual education and conducting language analyzes for Moroccan Arabic. Since September 2021 she started a new adventure. She has started working in a rehabilitation center for young children.