We were so happy to feature Suzanne who presented and WON with the project titled, Suzalingua, at our event on June 10, 2018! Read more about the project below:
I run a tiny little language school (www.suzalingua.no), which is located at home at our kitchen table. I teach Norwegian and specialize in courses which reflect the environment they are situated in: small, cozy, personal and friendly. My regular courses have a maximum of 5 participants (though I generally try not to have more than four people in a group), so that every student gets the attention and help they need. It’s very important for me to create a supportive environment where everybody feels relaxed and positive enough to study. A lot of my students have tried other schools before, but they felt overwhelmed by big classrooms where they got no attention. Most of them are are women…
The other important aspect of my school are the “bring your baby” classes. I offer language courses where mums and dads on parental leave can bring their baby to class. As the classes are held in my home, I can offer all the facilities (and toys) that babies and toddlers need, so it’s usually easy enough to keep the babies busy while their parents learn Norwegian. The “bring your baby” classes move more slowly than regular classes to allow for nappy changes and breast-feeding, and they form a central part of my school. Apart from those special courses I also have a policy of always allowing one baby, even in “regular” courses.
It is my main aim to offer a venue for women who struggle to get integrated in Norway, and who need a supportive environment to learn the language (which in turn can help them to feel more accepted in society here). Here they can not only learn Norwegian, but also meet other parents and get lots of practical information about being a parent in Oslo. I am a foreigner and a mum myself, and after 11 years in Norway and three kids I have a lot of information to share!
Why does this idea matter to you?
I came up with the idea of the “bring your baby” courses when I was on maternity leave after my first baby, and I really wanted to do something other than being at home with the baby. I have a great passion for languages and tried to go to lanaguage courses when the little one was only a few months old. But I soon realised it was too difficult to make it work, especially as most courses took place in the evening when I was needed at home. Even though my partner brought the baby over in my break so I could feed her, this was just not an ideal solution.
This made me realise that there must be a lot of women like me out there, women who are on maternity leave and finally have the time to improve their Norwegian skills, but are stuck at home because of the baby. So I wanted to offer a venue for all of them, give them a chance to pursue their language studies in an environment that accommodates not only the mums (and dads), but also the babies.
And in general my school really matters to me because I just love studying languages, and I want other people to see how much fun language-learning can be!
How will you idea make Oslo a better place?
I hope that my school makes Oslo a better place by offering a friendly space for language learners: for mothers with their babies, for women who struggle in a foreign environment, and for anyone who feels insecure in larger classroom settings.
How will you use the micro-grant funding to realize your concept?
I would use the micro-grant funding to invest in a large whiteboard with stand. I am currently teaching with a small whiteboard that is balancing on a baby-chair, held in place by cook books. While this system certainly works, the board just falls off too often, and it would be great to have a more stable solution. And it would be wonderful to have a board that has enough space even for schematic representations of more complex sentence structures. 🙂
How do I contact this project?