" research project
Our research in Italy often brought us into contact with classes containing children from foreign countries and so we also received many counting-rhymes in other languages, which was stimulating.
This, together with the fact that our school has for some time enjoyed relations with the Association of World Citizens had an effect on the next stage of our work.
The Association of World Citizens is made up of people from a range of nationalities who visit schools to talk to the children about their country: its geography, nature, traditions and games played by children.
So we also asked them for counting rhymes which though often incomprehensible charmed us with their musicality.
Indeed if you look beyond the barrier of different languages it’s immediately obvious that these rhymes share distinctive universal sounds and rhythms.
Once we had become a little more expert in handling e-mail we started to think of ways of involving children of other nations and traditions.
We then had the idea of exploiting the e-mail address of the kids and foreign teachers who frequently use the Kidslink site. So we wrote a message in English to present our research programme and ask for help.
We first transmitted the message to the kids registered with K-FORUM which comprises two lists of international newsgroups.
It wasn’t long before we got our first replies – in fact just a few hours after posting the e-mail we received a first consignment of messages and material in reply. What amazed us most was that they originated from seven different and far-off countries: Japan, Finland, USA, Holland, Iceland, Australia and Israel – a fact that really brought home to us what a powerful and exceptional communications tool the Internet really is.
In just over a month we received more than 150 messages, now they are several hundreds and they keep on coming! Both kids and teachers abroad feel involved in the project – this comes through in the warmth and enthusiasm of their replies. So many counting rhymes have reached us and the more we read, the more we marvel at their variety and quite singular nature.
Alongside the work of gathering and collating material direct contacts have developed between almost all our classes and classes in schools abroad (Sweden, Texas, Hawaii, England).Mauro Presini