mylanguage.ca has been launched by Dr. Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University.
The site provides research-based information about the importance of maintaining and protecting the many minority languages of young children spoken in homes across Canada.
The goal of mylanguage.ca is to help parents, teachers, early childhood educators and other children’s services practitioners understand the personal, social, linguistic and academic reasons for maintaining and protecting home languages (L1).
In The Arrival, author/illustrator Shaun Tan “tells” the story (without words) of an immigrant in a new land. Tan’s description:
“The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope”.
It is both a book for children and a book for adults. It is beautiful, compelling and a must-see. Tan has won several children’s literature awards for this work. See Shaun Tan’s website for more on The Arrival, including some of the illustrations.
See the December 6, 2007 Globe and Mail article “Leaping over educational adversity: Young immigrants and refugees with little or no formal schooling are thriving in Toronto’s intensive literacy and numeracy program”. An excerpt:
” As more children with non-existent or interrupted educations resettle in Canada, school boards are increasingly struggling to cope with the unique challenges of schooling the un-schooled. …
“A 2006 report by the Canadian School Boards Association called for the federal government to fund more programs to help refugee and immigrant children adjust to the school system, more provincial dollars and better training for teachers”.