Liverpool’s contribution to International Language Day has been hailed as a major success.
The city’s Network of Supplementary Schools staged a special community day at Broadgreen International School to mark the day which highlights the importance of language and celebrates diverse cultures.
The Network consists of 10 supplementary schools, in which communities provide extra educational opportunities for their children, operate in the city usually on Saturday or Sunday. They engage children from nursery age to GSCE level and operate on a voluntary basis. As well as their educational value they are a way of preserving cultural heritage.
Each of the groups gave a performance with music, dance, songs, poetry and reading. Al-Ghazali Supplementary School is teaching their pupils Arabic and they presented a reading from the Koran, and the group from the Somali school read a poem.
Ferdowsi Iranian School sang their national anthem and Liverpool Arabic Centre offered more contemporary performance with a pop song in Arabic performed by Rehan Al-Hakim called “Eihelwa Di” (“This pretty girl”).
The Greek School of St Nicolas presented a traditional Greek dance with live music and John Paul II Polish Saturday School performed their dance in traditional folk costumes from Cracow region. Wah Sing Chinese Community Centre showed dances from the Mandarin and Cantonese groups at their school
The newest of the schools from the Finnish Community presented the activities.
Following the performance there were different activities by each of the groups which involved finding more about how people live in different countries, tasting their food and getting involved in language activities.
Visitors could have their name written in Chinese, make a Polish flower headdress, work out a quiz in Greek or write their name in Arabic. Food on offer ranged from lubia-polo (Iran), keftedes (Greece) Arabic baklava and tiikeri kakku -tiger cake from Finland.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Sharon Sullivan opened the events and visited all the individual groups. She said: “It was a really inspirational day and the young people involved were a credit to their communities. I would like to thank the parents and teachers for supporting this day in these economic challenging times.
“It is very encouraging that the Supplementary Schools are maintaining the cultural heritage of their communities. We are a global city which should celebrate its diversity.”
Among the comments received about the day was: “It was a great opportunity for all to share their experiences, language, culture and food with each other. It gave us the sense that we’re not alone, that we’re together and after the same goal!
“We live in a multicultural society and we have all built levels of relationship in a wider community where we live or work, regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, language, religion, etc. At the same time however, we all strive to sustain our own culture, own language, own identity, and try to pass them on to the next generation.” (Ladan Shayanfar , Ferdowsi Iranian School)
Trainee teachers from John Moores University took part to gain valuable experience in helping pupils from different cultural backgrounds.