How Sunday School Can Preserve a Culture by Teaching Armenian Language

Sending your children to a Saturday or Sunday Armenian school is not just an attempt to battle the assimilation of the Armenian culture and nationality, it is a way to help your children to find themselves in this world and understand where they belong to.

St. Sahag & St. Mesrop Armenian Saturday school, Toronto, Canada

Every Diasporan parent wishes his/her child to learn to read and write in Armenian to raise the sense of the child’s own national and cultural identity. The question comes as how strong is that sense.
To survive in a diverse environment of languages and cultures, the children should learn Armenian to feel Armenian. That is what we believe in and aspire for.

Usually it is a hard decision to make children to learn a second language, which is the historical mother tongue, but at the same time not as “relevant” as the main language of the community they live in. Many parents struggle with the questions of how difficult it will be for the child, or they will lose focus and not succeed, etc.. There is also the usual problem of the schools being very few for the large communities and far to drive within an hour, so it makes it more difficult to make a solid decision.

Despite the common difficulties known to all Diasporan families, there are millions of Armenians all around the world taking their children to Saturday/Sunday Armenian schools with the hope to immerse Armenian identity into them.

K. Tahta Armenian Community School in London

We encounter the unbelievably huge investment of Armenian schools to the idea of preserving Armenian culture across the world. And it can not be ignored.

But it is a major mistake to limit the education of “being Armenian” to the only several hours spent at a Saturday school. The preservation of any language starts early at home with the constant attention and sometimes even sacrifices of the parents.

 

Here are several tips of how to succeed in teaching Armenian language to your children:

  • Take your children to Armenian school. We know it may be distracting from the main classes, we know the school may be far, but please, do it!
  • Implementing Armenian language learning tools, exercises and methods at home via family interaction and daily communications
  • Involve all family members into the process of teaching Armenian language to the children. Let everyone to ask questions in Armenian and play word games
  • Speak Armenian at home. Not only to the children, but to each other all day long!
  • Read Armenian fairytales to them to bed. Or if you are not fluent in Armenian, use Playland Armenia audio enabled storybooks to listen to the tales several times, and then ask your children to tell you back. I am sure, grandmothers will be happy to listen to.
  • Print Armenian alphabet letters as flash cards, make a poster and hang it on the wall in the child’s bedroom or study
  • Tell your children to draw family trees, write everyone’s names in the family in Armenian, and hang the tree picture on the wall

Armenian Catholic Sisters School, Cairo, Egypt

These are just several small tips to let the child get acquainted with the Armenian language basics. Follow our upcoming posts to find out the best practices and methods of preserving Armenian language, the best heritage our Motherland has for us.