International Mother Language Day


Resource type: Event

Price band: Free

Key stage: KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5, EYFS

Region(s): All of UK

International Mother Language Day was set up by UNESCO to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It is an annual celebration that takes place on February 21st.

Language is an integral part of the way we see ourselves, of our identity and culture. When languages disappear, cultural memory and traditions, unique modes of thinking and expression are lost, and the cultural diversity of our world is diminished.

At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered and every two weeks a language disappears. International Mother Language Day was set up in 1999 to recognise the vital role that language plays in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, strengthening co-operation, and ensuring quality education for all.

Cost: Free.

About  UNESCO: UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Its aim is to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development through international cooperation in the key areas of Education, Science and Culture.

Further resources:

  • Download the International Mother Language Day poster from the UNESCO website.
  • Celebrate multilingualism with this Language Garden project from Mother Tongues, a social enterprise in Ireland. The website also has useful videos and articles to help promote inclusion and embed multilingualism in the primary classroom.
  • Celebrate language diversity and different cultures with the youngest pupils with this selection of picture books chosen by Scottish Book Trust.
  • The We are Multilingual website has free teaching resources to help develop awareness and appreciation of the range of different language backgrounds in classrooms across the country for both primary and secondary schools.
  • Join the Story Seekers in their mission to find, tell and share stories from around the world. The Story Seekers is a free oracy and creative literacy project for primary aged pupils created by the National Theatre and the Unicorn Theatre in partnership with CLPE. The six-week project provides CPD and a supporting toolkit of both written and digital resources by professional storytellers and theatre artists.
  • Mantra Lingua publish dual language books and other resources to support multilingual learners.
  • Explore children’s and YA literature from around the world with World Kid Lit’s free booklists and resources.
  • Find more resources to support your EAL students here.

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