Heritage Language Schools

Heritage Language Schools
December 1991 / January 1992

Offered by both school systems to all children attending regular day school, it is open to everyone who wishes to acquire an extra language.

LATVIAN SCHOOL -by Peter Lasmanis
Hello and greetings from the Kitchener Latvian School at Sheppard School, 270 Weber Street East. We have been meeting here since October of 1989, when we started our Latvian school, which now consists of about 20 students ranging in age from 7 to 22 years. Most of them come not knowing the Latvian language since either one of their parents is non-Latvian or both Latvian parents did not pass on their language to their children. This makes teaching this age group a real challenge. We are also offering a Latvian credit course this year, and so far have attracted both high school and university students. As you may know, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have recently claimed their independence from U.S.S.R. Now Latvia must build a strong nation after having been unjustly overtaken by U.S.S.R. in 1938. Facing Latvia today is the fact that Latvians are a minority in their own country. Under the Soviet “Russification” programme, many foreigners arrived in Latvia since 1938. The granting of citizenship is both a sensitive and urgent problem. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to outline a little about the Latvian Heritage School to you. This magazine is an excellent idea, and I hope to be able to speak more about Latvia and the Latvian culture in future issues.

PERSIAN SCHOOL -by Zahra Madani
A new Persian School starts on December 14,1991 at King Edward School at 709 King Street West in Kitchener, from 9:30 to 12:00 noon. This is an open invitation to all Iranians to bring their children for registration.

Hello, I am the junior class Mandarin teacher. Two of my own children attend the Chinese School, it gives them the opportunity to learn about their heritage and culture. There are many advantages to learning Chinese. For example, it can help to bridge the generation gap between our children and our elders. Also understanding another language will help them expand their opportunities in the future. According to the World Journal, the Asian economy is gradually growing and in time to come, will prove to be a prosperous economy. Since one fifth of the world’s population is made up of Chinese people, the earlier we expose our children to the Chinese language, the more open doors there will be to greet them as they enter the working world. Thus, learning Chinese is not only an ideal, but a great asset for the futures of our children. In my class, there is a total of 19 students ranging from age six to twelve. They come from a variety of different backgrounds, and as a result, their ability with the Chinese language also varies. I recognize that the achievements of my students in regular day school is very good. Since children are capable of learning many languages at a young age, now is the perfect time to teach them, and help them develop new learning skills. Western education and traditional Chinese education methods are very different. Thus, to meet each student’s needs, the best of both teaching methods are adopted. The result of learning is not always apparent, so with the effort of teachers and students, we can make learning Chinese an easier journey.