Want to make creations as awesome as this one?

The Language Friendly School is a network and label for schools who welcome and value all the languages spoken by their students.


Making All Languages Visible

With visual representation of students' home languages we communicate clearly to our students and their families that they are welcome, including the languages they speak.

Without visual representation, students may receive the message that their languages do not matter and that they need to hide their own language. Even when the official school policy is that all languages are welcome, without actually seeing or hearing the languages at school, the message may not be clear for students. Especially for languages that have a low status in the wider society.

Click here for more information and tips on how to make students languages visible in your school!

Welcome to the Language Friendly School Roadmap!

The Language Friendly School is a bottom-up concept. There is no blue-print of what schools must do. Each schools develops their own plan and chooses their own priorities, strategies and activities. The minimum requirements to join the network can be found in the left column (What we Don't Do). The Roadmap serves as an inspirational guide.

Click on the icons on the Roadmap for background information and tips!

The Language Friendly School is an initiative of the Rutu Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education.

Click here for for more information and how to join.

Why we don't prohibit, punish or discourage students for use of their home languages

Worldwide, children are prohibited and even punished when using their home languages at school.

Prohibiting, punishing or discouraging the use of students' languages effectively silences them. It may lead to confusion, frustration, low self-esteem and may negatively impact their learning. Punishments instills in students the inferior status of their home languages. It devalues their identities, that of their families and all speakers of these languages.

Punishing children for home language use is a violation of their linguistic human rights and their right to education.

A study in Flanders (Belgium) showed that children who were punished for using their home language at school performed worse academically than their peers who were not punished for comprehensive reading and science. They also felt less at home at school and believed they had less future opportunities.

Language Friendly Schools commit in writing not to prohibit, punish or discourage home-language use at the school grounds. For classroom use of home languages, we recommend creating a language friendly classroom policy.


Agirdag, 2017; Cummins, 2015; Dovchin, 2020; Hurwitz & Kambel, 2020; Mary & Young, 2017; Rezzoug, De Plaën, Bensekhar-Bennabi, & Moro, 2007; Skutnabb-Kangas & Phillipson, 1995.

Minimum Requirements

'What we don't do' is required for all schools who join the Language Friendly School network.

The rest of the Roadmap is optional!