Bilingual visual dictionary ‘Lacho dive! Sar San?’

Bilingual visual dictionary ‘Lacho dive! Sar San?’

Recognizing the importance of the child’s first language in learning processes and settings, and especially for children from vulnerable groups like the Roma, REYN Croatia has created this visual dictionary to support multilingualism in early childhood care and education services.

In Croatia, a large number of Roma children speak the Romani Chhib language, and this attractive illustrated dictionary with colourful scenes is for them, their families and communities as well as practitioners in the upbringing, education and care system who work with Roma young children for their language development.

This resource has been produced with the support of the REYN initiative.

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The role of professionals in promoting diversity and inclusiveness

In view of preparing children adequately for life in the 21st century eight key competences have been identified by the European Union. Among these competences are the ability to communicate in the mother tongue and cultural awareness and expression. This is in line with research evidence showing the importance of the heritage language and culture in
identity development, well being, mental health and school achievement. Hence, the role of professionals is pivotal in fostering cultural and linguistic awareness among children and promoting inclusiveness in the classroom or group. This review of the literature is meant to provide an initial theoretical framework concerning the role of professionals in dealing with cultural and linguistic diversity and promoting inclusiveness.

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Romani children and their first language, Croatia

In this study, REYN Croatia analyzes the second language acquisition process and the effort it requires. In Croatia, some Roma speak Romani Chib while some use the Bayash Romanian language, and Croatian is spoken as the second language. The bilingual or multilingual skills of Romani children should be considered an added value rather than something to be repressed, even at home with family. Bilingual or multilingual children are often better at mastering new languages. Teachers should consider the effort made by Romani children in following classes led in Croatian and they should help them by teaching in an interactive way, giving Romani children the possibility to develop and improve their first language skills, giving value to their background using some words or phrases in the pupils’ mother tongue.

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