Published May 17, 2022 by Bowdoin News

Multilingual Mainers Celebrates a Record-Breaking Year

This academic year, Multilingual Mainers had its largest cohort of Bowdoin students volunteering to teach languages at the local elementary school. To celebrate, they threw a playground fiesta in May with live music and dancing.

Multilingual Mainers is a partnership between Bowdoin College students and Kate Furbish Elementary School students. Through daily lunches and classroom visits, the undergraduates introduce the young children to languages they themselves are fluent in, from Arabic to Spanish.

The program, launched by Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Margaret Boyle in 2017, promotes language learning, but also provides children with books and other classroom tools to combat racism and intolerance. 

Starting last September, Bowdoin students taught twelve languages and reached over 700 students in pre-kindergarten to second grade. All Kate Furbish elementary students participate in Multilingual Mainers lunchtime learning. In addition, some teachers go further to incorporate language and intercultural lessons taught by Bowdoin students into their weekly schedules.

To celebrate the banner year, Multilingual Mainers held an end-of-year celebration and an outdoor all-school concert on May 12 featuring the band Primo Cubano, which plays traditional Cuban music.