Editor, French Language Coordinator, Translator
April 13, 2018
Polyglot Indonesia Reaches Out to Elementary School Children
PI_and_Aras.jpg

The early bird gets the worm and so, 5 coordinators of Polyglot Indonesia Chapter Jakarta rose and shone at the break of dawn on Friday, 13 April 2018 to head to Ar-ridha Al Salaam (Aras) Elementary School, an Islamic, green and bilingual school in Cinere. We were meeting up with 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students to increase their interest in learning new languages. This way, we hope people realize that Polyglot Indonesia is for everyone, regardless of age! Not just young adults, but children, teenagers and those young-at-heart crowds (let’s not mention age here!)!

Children are so well known for their energy. Knowing this, we ensured that the session was very active and children moved about. Therefore, we ‘caught’ the students at the beautiful aula and divided them into four groups, equal to the number of the language ‘stations’ we set up at the aula.

As a starter and to break the ice, Tiar led the children through a very fun “Mango” energizer. It definitely set the right tone onwards, children were giggling at the end of the energizer, despite me (speaking as a mom) being a tad bit flustered when Tiar made the children say loudly ‘p**p’ in front of the principal. Oh well, all’s well that ends well.

After the energizer, the children embarked on their quest to explore all the activities prepared at the language stations. Each group rotated to a different language station after every 10 minutes and took on the challenge of the stations.

  • Fajar, manning the Japanese station, taught the children on how to dance the “bon odori”, a type of Japanese dance usually danced in the summer in the peak of obon celebration.
  • Ria, leading the English station, played the “Telephone Game” with the schoolchildren. 
  • Upika, presiding over the French station, challenged the students with Vire-Langues (try saying: Cinq chiens chassent six chats, quickly and repeatedly, go on, we dare you.)
  • Chandra, at the German station, handed out lyrics of “Häschen in der Grube” and sang with the pupils, while showing them how to pronounce those special vowels ‘ä’ and ‘ü’.

At the end of each activity and before the group of students arrives at the new station, we did another energizer to increase their enthusiasm even more. 

Lo and behold, the allocated one hour given to us passed by so quickly! Suddenly it was already time to wrap up. We are very grateful for the warm collaboration with Ar-ridha Al Salaam, in particular, Aras' elementary school principal, the energic teachers and their wonderful students.

PS: Here’s a quote from Rifat, a 4th grader:

“It was great, we played and learned many languages. But the one activity I really remember is when the person said in English: “I eat the mango …. And I p**p the mango …. (red: writer face-palmed while typing, but continued to write, since this is an honest review from one of our young participants) …  And I pass the mango. It was so funny! Also, when I was in Ms Chandra’s group, we sang a German song but I couldn’t really understand what it meant and now it makes me want to learn more German. “

About the author

Chandrasa is an alumni of IPB (Bogor Agricultural University) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She has worked for the ASEAN Secretariat, AusAID, COST Office, GIZ, IBCSD, LB-LIA Bogor, and UNESCO. 

During her elementary until high school years, Chandrasa exchanged schools four times: from Korea back to Indonesia, then to Switzerland and finally finishing her mandatory education in Jakarta. She spent her more serious years in Belgium where she stayed a bit more than a decade there. In 2013, after having lived more than half her life abroad, Chandrasa returned to Jakarta. She can converse fluently in English, German and French in addition to understanding Dutch (Indonesian goes without saying, of course). This passion for languages has brought her to Polyglot Indonesia in 2013 and where she proudly remains until now ... and until ... infinity and beyond! 

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