"Let's become a bilingual family" (BILFAM) is a project co-funded by the European Union within the Key Activity 2: Languages of the Lifelong Learning Programme. It took place between December 2010 and January 2013 and it was conducted by a consortium of 5 European countries: Italy, UK, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. The consortium included two universities, two language schools, a publisher, and a maternity centre.
A total of 125 families were involved in an unprecedented adventure: mothers, fathers and children shared the path of learning a new language thanks to the "Adventures of Hocus and Lotus" and the Narrative Format methodology created by Professor Traute Taeschner of the University of Rome "La Sapienza". Over the years this method has been tested successfully for teaching languages to children aged 0 to 11 (for example in the European projects "Dinotour" and "Stories about Hokus and Lotus") and has been awarded many prizes, including one as best Socrates project in Berlin in 2007.
The family is the centre of loving relationships and shared significant experiences where children learn to speak, and so it lends itself very well to the adoption of the Narrative Format as the method for language learning. Families challenged themselves to act out the stories of the Hocus and Lotus dinocrocs and by doing so they introduced a second or third language in their daily life.
Along this learning path families could rely on the tutor's support both in face-to-face meetings and online through the website, where they could not only avail themselves of 13 activities especially designed to learn to speak a new language but also create a real community in which they could exchange experiences, opinions and reflections with other participants through a blog and a forum.
Thanks to the results obtained and the materials created in the project, more families will be able to start the path towards multilingualism by taking part in the BILFAM courses. Six training sessions, meetings with tutors and a wealth of materials available on the bilfam.eu website will allow them to experience daily opportunities to learn and use a new language.