With Heuropa! children from bilingual families can learn through play and improve their “second“ and often less often used mother tongue. From 2014 on you can find free courses for learning Polish, Czech and Lithuanian language on http://www.heuropa.eu/.
The online platform offers 65 animated language games for 3 age groups from preschool children to teenagers. Games full of fantasy and with funny superheroes make learning amusing for everyone. Teachers and parents can find tips, advice and practice sheets. With a special course planner all games can be individually customised depending on topics, linguistic skills and age.
To enable both parents to join their children in learning, help texts are provided in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and of course in the target languages. Moreover there are two special courses with games suitable for A1 and A2 beginners.
Being bilingual in an early age has been linked to a number of cognitive benefits.
Antje Neuhoff, project coordinator from Multimedia Language centre of University of Technology in Dresden finds bilingualism a big chance all “affected” families should take. “Researchers have shown that a bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities.”
As projects focused on bilingual children and bilingual families are not very easily found it was a great opportunity for the international team behind Heuropa! to concentrate on this topic. The platform has been piloted in Saturday schools in several European countries and teacher as well as their pupils appreciated the game-based learning approach in the classroom and also at home.
The team consists of the Prague, Dresden and Vilnius universities, Associations for bilingual education as the Czech School without borders and the Association of Polish teachers, the Prolog language school, and the game developers fictionfarmer.
The project was funded by the European Union within the Lifelong Learning Programme.
Antje Neuhoff, Karin Schöne
Multimedia Language Centre, University of Technology Dresden