That was the challenge set for the pupils at St Mary & St Andrew’s Primary School, in the UK, on the European Languages Day, last year, in 2003.
In the entrance hall there was a poster of greetings in all the languages of the 15 Member and new Member States with a list of the countries to match them with. Soon the children began to notice that there were flags scattered around the school too. The teachers gave each child a sheet with the EU countries listed on one side and spaces to write the location of the correct flags on the other.
At playtime and lunchtime children spent their free time looking around the school hunting for flags, looking for atlases and encyclopaedias to check their answers and discussing the similarities of some of the flags. In the main hallway a display of books written in different languages was set up.
Some books were bilingual some in just one language. We had books from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Eire, Spain, France, Wales and Holland. One of the teachers borrowed some of her nephew's schoolbooks from Ireland and another found a book about living in France. A collection of postage stamps from European countries was brought in and displayed by the books.
The book from Finland came with a tape of the story read in Finnish by children from a school in Helsinki, so a tape recorder was made available and blank tapes added for the children to record an English translation to send to the children in Finland.
Some of the older children wrote alternative stories to go with the illustrations in the books if no translations were available. Words that looked similar to English were found and guesses made as to the countries of origin, the illustrations were studied carefully for clues. Everyone enjoyed the day.