National Foreign Language Week & Promoting Language Learning

This week (March 7-13) is National Foreign Language Week in the US.  It was begun in 1957 by the Alpha Mu Gammar Honor Society to help make students aware of how vital foreign language study is. Of course, if you visit my website and read my blog, then you already know how vital it is and that I promote language learning more often than once a year. So instead of preaching to the choir (and because my translation work is keeping me really busy these days), I just wanted to mention J from 52 Languages, 52 Weeks‘ grant proposal for the Pepsi Refresh Everything competition in Canada.

His proposal is to teach new languages to preschool children by converting “daycares into language nests, places for pre-schoolers to be immersed in a second language and become bilingual from a very early age. It can be a language from the child’s cultural heritage, or it can be an entirely new language to give the child a head start in life.”

His Language Nest project is in the $25,000 grant category under Education.  Voting ends April 30, and you can vote everyday until then. You can also connect with Facebook instead of creating an account to sign in. Also be sure to check out the other participants because you have 10 votes to use each day and there are many other worthy projects among the Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, and Neighbourhoods categories as well.

The American version of the Pepsi Refresh Project has different categories (only Arts & Music, Communities, and Education) and deadlines, so check out their website if you are a resident of the US and interested in participating later this year.

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  • pamnjeromy

    My family and I will be moving to Italy this summer through the military. What are the elementary schools like in Italy. Do you think its wise to start a first grader off in Italian schools? Do they speak any English in the schools? I’m very interested in getting her out of the American schools, but am very nervous and apprehensive. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • J

    Thanks for your support Jennie! I really appreciate it.


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  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a great idea J. Wish I had one of those preschools back in the day! Happy National FLW to everyone!

  • Andrew

    Oh wow, he’s really got a shot at this, best of luck to you J., please let us know how you do.


  • Jennie Wagner

    Kids tend to do well when adapting to new environments. I think they will do fine in Italian schools, even if they have trouble at first. Depending on the city where you’ll be, it might be difficult to find English speakers at the elementary school so you might need to have private tutors at first to help them with the language and getting up to speed with the other students.

  • Jennie Wagner

    No problem! Happy to help out!

  • Erika

    I looking to replace the VHS video “The World Says Welcome” released by the Monterey Institute of International Studies with an up-to-date DVD. Any ideas?

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


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