„UNIVERSA VIA“ INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
THE LANGUAGE POLICY
Beliefs and values in language
Our school is a bilingual, international Lithuanian-English school, with Lithuanian and English languages as the languages of instruction. We use a combination of the most up-to-date Lithuanian and globally approved International Baccalaureate programmes in order to carry out the idea of bi-lingual education. We aim to provide skills of language and communication in an ever-changing world. We believe in international-mindedness and learning beyond stereotypes and barriers. We learn to express ourselves and our ideas in the most comprehensive and the most compelling ways. None of this is possible without an excellent mastery of language, both our mother tongue – Lithuanian, and foreign- English. Our kindergarten and school work to develop and improve all language skills: listening, understanding, speaking, reading and writing. We are aware of the fact that our students have different learning styles and abilities; therefore, we aim to differentiate and personalize the learning process, wherever it is possible.
The following points summarize the language profile of students currently studying at “Universa Via” international school.
12% of students have English as their mother tongue.
10% of students are bilingual (English and Lithuanian).
78% of students have Lithuanian as their mother tongue.
Most students are second language learners of English.
English and Lithuanian are the languages of instruction and are commonly acceptable to all.
Our kindergarten and school are bilingual with Lithuanian and English as both instructional languages. All students have access to both languages from the early age – 4 years old. In the kindergarten there are two teachers who can speak both English and Lithuanian. They work together implementing the 4 IB Units of Inquiry. All students, regardless of their native language must learn both languages.
In our primary school students can practise both languages with their homeroom and language teachers. The first language of instruction is the Lithuanian language. All students have 2 ( 3 starting 4th grade) English classes per week plus the additional 1-2 that are taught in English, but may vary in subjects (math, science, language). The second language of instruction is the English language. We have a special teacher who conducts classes only in English. The main language of those classes is English; however, students who learn in English, still have 3-4 Lithuanian classes per week.
All native Lithuanian and English speaking teachers work together in order to implement the 6 IB Units of Inquiry. They may provide the same information in different languages; however, they follow the same plan and central idea. At the end of each unit, all teachers work together on final projects.
Languages used in daily functions
Lithuanian and English are the preferred languages of communication at „Universa Via“ international school. Lithuanian serves as the school‘s national language; however, the school is aware of multilingual community; therefore, Lithuanian and English are used for purpose of operations, communication and management.
All curriculum documents are written in both the Lithuanian and English languages.
External and internal school communication is done in Lithuanian and English. Parents who attend meetings with teachers or school administrators can communicate (written and orally) with them in both Lithuanian and English.
The internal communication within administration department and support staff (transport, food, housekeeping) is typically conducted in Lithuanian ( the official language of the Republic of Lithuania) in order to ensure smooth functioning of the various support departments.
Mother tongue support
„Universa Via“ international school acknowledges the importance of mother tongue support; therefore, the school community nurtures the development of mother tongue from the early years.
School-based support for mother tongue development:
1. The school offers a course in students‘ mother tongues by recruiting tutors proposed by the school itself or parents. Tutors are either funded privately by the student, or in some cases, when there are more than 10 students whose mother tongue is different from the languages of instruction, the school sets a budget to engage tutors.
2. The school ensures access to various printed and digital resources in students’ mother tongue.
3. Students are allowed, due to their flexible individual timetables, to study their particular language as a school-supported self-taught language.
4. Parents are encouraged to help set up foreign language shared reading groups during reading time.
5. Children are encouraged to do projects on similar themes in their own languages. Also, they are encouraged to speak their own language during informal class time.
6. The school provides students with additional reading class in their mother tongue.
Essential agreements for language teaching
Are given access to both Lithuanian and English from an early age;
Are encouraged to use more than one language;
Are inspired to see language as a tool of communication, self-expression and knowledge;
Are encouraged to express themselves orally, in writing and by other means of communication in more than one language, at least in both languages of instruction.
Are given a chance to practice their language skills in realistic, every-day situations;
Are provided with access to specific language support when needed. They are provided with individual lessons and differentiated lesson plans;
Receive support and information about their progress from teachers;
Have access to, and are taught through variety of technologies and information resources.
The Pedagogical Leadership Team
All grade 1-4 teachers
The PYP coordinator