When a refugee family arrived in my home town of Brighton and didn’t speak English, the adults quickly learned to say “Sainsbury’s” and “How are you?”. But the children needed to learn a different set of words for nursery school and unlike British children they didn’t hear them at home. For toddlers arriving in a new culture, starting nursery may be confusing and scary. It could make a big difference to settling in if they are familiar with the meaning of words they will learning. Every word in ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ or the ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ would be completely new to them.
So I came up with the idea of adding an electronic circuit to a wooden peg puzzle. When a child puts the right piece in, it will say the word out loud in English. The toy is intended to meet the needs of 2 particular children, and can also be adapted to meet the needs of other children learning a new language.
I received a £250 grant from the Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufacture to produce 10 games for local refugee families and will publish the plans online for other people to make or adapt the games too.
Poppy Mosbacher has made this project