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Edinburgh hosted this October a new event – the Kite and Trumpet Festival – celebrating Polish art, design and theatre dedicated to children. As a parent of two bilingual children I was overjoyed. The programme was fantastic and offered 11 days of arts and crafts workshops, theatre productions and daily access to a Playroom, or “Bawialnia”, featuring educational toys and beautiful books by Polish designers and writers/illustrators.

The majority of events took place at the Summerhall, while some were held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and North Edinburgh Arts. We particularly enjoyed the preserve making workshop with Polish illustrator Katarzyna Bogucka followed by a free tasting of Polish pierogi. We had a dab at letter writing with a real goose feather and ink (messy!) and explored the meaning of bilingualism with experts from the Bilingualism Matters Centre at the Edinburgh University.

We also attended a theatre performance by a group from my home city – Teatr Pinokio – which was shown in conjunction with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. The Storytelling Machine was very funny and entertaining both in English and Polish.

I feel incredibly lucky to be living in a city with access to so much culture in my own language and my children’s second language. I really hope that Kite and Trumpet festival returns again next year!




Bilingualism Matters

October 19th, 2017

Last Tuesday, I took my kids to a workshop for bilingual children, which was held at the Summerhall as part of the Kite and Trumpet Festival of Polish Art for Children. The workshop was run by Bilingualism Matters – a Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

The workshop was full of fun, but at the same time a great trigger for discussion with children about the importance of keeping their second (and third) language alive by any means available.

I particularly liked the balloon metaphor – language being like a balloon, which can float away if we do not anchor it with various ways of using the language, such as speaking, singing, playing, reading and keeping in touch with family abroad. I have never openly spoken to my children about language loss – it was always implicit in my efforts to encourage contact with Polish by various means. The workshop has helped make them more aware of this challenge. Raising bilingual children is not easy, so I welcome the support offered to parents through events like this and the opportunity to meet other parents facing the same obstacles as myself.