Belmay Primary School provides an Italian language and culture program to all students from years one to six. Italian has been taught at Belmay Primary School for over twenty years and this engaging and very interactive program is strongly supported by the school community. Students attend a one-hour Lanaguage lesson each week in the Italian Room, where useful resources and Italian props are used to support learning. As culture is an important part of learning a language, our Italian program at Belmay includes cooking, learning about history, viewing documentaries and videos, exploring festivities and common practices and listening to stories about Italians, which are often shared by the Italian teacher.
The Languages Curriculum for Western Australia focuses on students developing skills in Communicating and Understanding, which are assessed every semester. These two areas of learning are divided into sub-strands, which include Socialising, Informing, Translating, Reflecting, and the Role of Language and Culture. While these learning areas are all interwoven and are part of our Italian program, at Belmay Primary School there is an emphasis on oral communication and learning about Italy’s rich and vibrant culture. Our Italian program also has a strong focus on the use of cognates and mnemonics to help retain information and enhance overall learning.
This year, the students in years one and two participated in language-rich learning, which was achieved through stories, songs, actions, games, flash-cards and role-play. The students in years three and four learnt how to provide information about themselves, their family, pets and pastimes. These students also learnt some components of grammar, such as how to modify adjectives. The year fives and sixes used various speaking and writing activities to discuss and describe their homes, local community and what they do in their free time. These activities included conducting surveys, labelling house plans, creating a map of an Italian city and learning how to use descriptive language. The senior students ended the year with a bruschetta-making session and a taste of traditional Italian Christmas cake, called ‘panettone’.
Cross-curricular activities are integrated into our Italian program so students are given opportunities to develop their Maths, Science, Art, Music and HASS skills during Italian lessons. Our iPads and eBoard enable learning with digital technology and add an element of fun to our lessons. These devices are particularly useful for watching videos, researching our topics, listening to music or playing interactive games, such as ‘Wordwall’ and ‘Quizlet’.
The students at Belmay demonstrate an interest in learning another language and being a multi-cultural school, this means that some of our students are able to speak three or four languages. We are proud of these students’ abilities and encourage the learning of Languages as it has many benefits for their cognitive development, cultural awareness and future employment and travel opportunities. Recent studies have shown that learning another language can improve memory, speech and sensory perception. It can also improve your ability to multitask and possibly ward off dementia.