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Italian Still Does Well in New York Thanks to Multicultural Programs for Children

Eight institutes have joined and multicultural communities have celebrated the end of the school year by organizing activities to teach the language to small kids

by Stefania Puxeddu Clegg

Eight public school communities re-connected via a Zoom call last Thursday to celebrate their work during a troubled school year marked by school closures and re-openings. The event was hosted and coordinated by Lucas Liu and Naveed Hasan (respectively treasurer and multilingual parent member at the Community Education Council of district 3).

“It was a pleasant surprise”, said Lucas. It was indeed: over a hundred people participated in the event which embraced the multilingual communities of all New York City Boroughs. As many as twenty videos – produced by tireless multilingual teachers, in partnership with parents and students – were forwarded to the CEC3.

The children’s’ work

Five of the eight participating schools were from district 3, which is led by Superintendent Christine Loughling (also participating in the call). Several leaders joined the celebrations, including CEC3 President Kim Watkins, Manhattan’s bilingual Executive Superintendent Marisol C. Rosales, Council Member and parent Ben Kallos.

Director of the Education Office at the Consulate General of Italy Annavaleria Guazzieri – the guest speaker – praised the efforts made by the Italian bilingual schools which prepared the videos “Benvenuta Primavera” and “Sù nel cielo” performed by some Broadway soon-to-be stars at PS132 and PS112. The teachers of PS242 Mr. Fernandez and Ms. Raffa forwarded a mix of videos and photos showing multicultural learning via the analogue method (click here to find out), music, singing and maths. The outcome was absolutely inspiring if we consider that the first program was launched by PS112 in 2016, followed by PS242 (2018) and PS132 (2019).

Elizabeth, a parent of PS132, is very grateful that the school kept the Italian program running, despite the challenges of remote and hybrid schooling. She told us that during the lockdown months, her daughter’s kindergarten class did daily songs with Ms. Faziola and spent part of their Fridays with the Italian Fairy, singing songs and learning new vocabulary.

First grade teacher Ms. Colombo did a lot of the daily routines in Italian, like the roll call, feelings, the weather each morning, as well as encouraging the kids to sing the alphabet and count to 100 in Italian.

All schools did their best to keep the language alive and to maintain the children engaged and ready for next year: we can’t wait to see them thrive further.

InItaliano’s mission to promote and support the Italian bilingualism and multiculturalism continues in New York City’s schools.

Despite the lockdown, multilingual and multicultural programs have continued to attract and motivate many students and their families.

Further details and links to be published soon on our social media.

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