Children from schools in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire attended two internationally themed family language suppers at the end of the summer term.
The suppers were held at Nottingham Trent University and at Leicester University. Year 8 and 9 pupils from Leicestershire schools and their families, enjoyed a hot and cold buffet of international foods.
Sam Winter, a Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer at the University of Leicester gave a presentation on the importance of learning a language. He focused on enrichment and employability. Later, lecturers from the Modern Languages Department delivered taster sessions in Italian, German and Spanish, followed by a salsa session for all guests.
The supper marked the forthcoming launch of Log onto Languages, an e-mentoring project which links Language Student Ambassadors to school children studying languages in Leicestershire. Pupils were able to meet and chat to their mentors.
Neha Dafria, a Genetics student from the university, who will be acting as an e-mentor, commented "When we are kids, we don't realise the importance of learning a language." "I am bilingual and up until now, I have taken this for granted." "I wish I'd had the opportunity to experience an event like this when I was at school, as a child, it would have helped me."
Throughout the evening, Professor Paul Cullis from the university's Chemistry Department and a group of Post-graduate students, made ice-cream for the guests, using liquid nitrogen. Professor Cullis said "Sciences share the same issues as languages. He added. "we need to enthuse young people."
Emma, a pupil from Sir Jonothan North Community College said "Being here today has made me see that I can get a better job when I am older, working in different countries and that would be great."
Nottingham Trent University, had earlier in the term, launched the Consortium's first Themed Family Language Supper to celebrate the end of its After School Languages' Clubs Project. An internationally themed buffet was served to participants and their families.
Parents/ Carers were able to view the children's work, alongside an exhibition of international posters and artefcats. The year 6 pupils who all attend Primary Schools in the inner city area of Nottingham completed parts of the the Junior European Languages Portfolio. The portfolios were on display.
Each of the nine participating Primary Schools had its own exhibition area. which had been previously set up by the Language Student Ambassadors who had delivered the After School Languages Clubs.
Certicicates of achievement were handed to each pupil by Laura Romero of the Spanish Embassy's Education Department and Judi Clarke, Assistant Programme Manager of Routes into Languages, after each school had carried out a short perfomance in the target languages: French, German and Spanish.
Comments from parents / carers included:
"I enjoyed the evening very much." "We've never been to a university before." "The languages project has introduced me and the pupils from Blue Bell School to lots of different cultures." Roomina's Mother.
"After this evening, I would like my daughter to come to this university." Asmah's Mother.
"This evening and the languages project have been amazing". "I can't believe how much the children have learnt over the past six weeks." "It brought tears to my eyes when my daughter did her performance in Spanish and got her certificate." Xena's Mother
Both the After School Languages Clubs and the Themed Family Language Suppers are a joint initiative between Nottingham Trent University, the lead instituition and University of Nottingham.
Lincoln University, another Consortium partner, will be hosting its first Themed Family Language Supper in the autumn term