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The deadline to sign up for early bird discounts for Know-it-all passport®'s upcoming workshop on Raising Multilingual Children is approaching! Sign up before 23h30 on 15 December 2023 for early bird discount.

Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children

This workshop on raising multilingual children will be led, once again, by the world-renowned specialist in education and neuroscience, Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D.. Half Japanese-American and half Irish-Native American, Tracey is married to an Ecuadorian and has 3 adult children who all speak fluent English, Spanish and German, and some French.

Currently teaching a successful course on The Neurscience of Learning and Achievement at Harvard University Extension School and Harvard College, Tracey has written numerous books on the brain and learning. Her first book, “Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children”, is especially popular with international parents facing the challenges of raising children in a multilingual environment. She has now written 11 books and keeps going! Her latest book is entitled, "Questions Kids Ask About Their Brains: How the Answers Help Students Learn and Teachers Teach".

Language acquisition: the key to success

According to Tracey, there are Ten Key Factors, which influence every student’s success with new languages:

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We found out about a new publication that helps those starting their career. Written by local author C. R. Williams (aka Carl Williams), this guidebook was released in April 2023. We caught up with the author and asked a few questions. He is also offering a signed book as a competition prize, so read down to the bottom.

What has been the inspiration behind the book?
The catalyst was hearing (for the umpteenth time) the comment; “why don’t they teach that at school?” For anyone who has worked professionally, it’s evident that formal education continues to bypass many of the core learnings we need to successfully navigate through life’s labyrinth. The “one size fits all” education structure and process – from elementary through University – is a modern day anomaly. It’s a remnant of the industrial revolution and something which nobody, thus far, has had the political will to take it on. The question remains: “how can something so glaring be so blatantly ignored for so long?” So, I wrote this book to try and fill some of the gaps. It highlights the things you’ll definitely encounter, either when entering the workforce or after a few years of toiling away, and provides readers with tools, ideas and established best practises to help them cut through the molasses.

Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
The idea first came to me when my eldest son graduated from University in 2014. At that point I went through a classic ideation process, gathering input from various parties vis-à-vis what skills, knowledge and mind-set would be really useful to improve the chances of having a fulfilling professional career. I then compared and contrasted those with the subjects being taught in schools and found an abyss!

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
The book was published in April 2023 so it took circa nine years to hatch. That is some gestation period! There were two obstacles: 1. Allocating the time to do the job properly when working full-time and helping to raise a family and 2. Writer’s block. The latter I ultimately overcame by fully committing to “90 minutes for 90 days” from 7h-8h30. I also used an interesting structure to write chapters.

2 Pacific SOS UN palais photo credit Franco Kok Benites and Dimitri Baer

One of the Pacific SOS boats in front of the United Nations on launch day, August 12. Photo credit: Franco Kok Benites / Dimitri Baer

You might have noticed a flotilla of boats sailing back and forth along the shores of Geneva on Lac Leman on Saturday, 12 August 2023. Marking International Youth Day with banners flying from the sails and a group of drumming local youth announcing “Pacific SOS” you will also notice that one of the youths was Ruben Chung. We published a previous article about his non-profit Serve4Good this year at this link.

Pacific SOS is a newly launched youth movement advocating climate justice for the Pacific Islands, who are on the frontlines of climate change. We caught up with its founder, Ruben Chung, a Geneva student whose family heritage comes from Papua New Guinea to ask a few questions:


The girls of Malimba Community School after receiving their Reusable Menstruation Kits, and an educational talk on reproduction/puberty, January 2023.

When we learned about the NGO 16 year-old Ruben Chung founded we wanted to find out more. Ruben, a year 12 student at the International School of Geneva, told us, "I founded an NGO: Serve4Goodfocusing on keeping girls in school in developing countries as absenteeism is a big problem due to their roles to fetch water. Because of their monthly menstruation cycle, girls end up missing about 25-30% of the schooling that their male classmates get. By the time they are in their teens, that is years of education they don't get. Many end up just dropping out."

Ruben admits that It all started out when he organized a tennis match for his friends during COVID, that the idea was sparked.

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When Jessica Taylor-Hall reached out to knowitall.ch to let us know of her recently launched Fun4Kids, offering flexible childcare solutions for children aged 2-5 during the canton Vaud school breaks, we had to find out more.

Jessica writes, "It is often challenging to find childcare solutions for the 2-5 age group when many childcare places close during the school breaks. We offer bilingual camps and are located in Coppet.

"We are fortunate to be able to use the premises of an existing kindergarden (l’Ile aux Enfants), ideally situated in the prime residential area “Les Perrières” in Coppet. It’s 5 minutes’ walk from the train station and we have parking spots available. It’s also next to the school “Necker”, two playgrounds and we have plenty of green space for the kids to have fun!

Fun4Kids was launched in March 2023, with their first camps during the Easter Break 2023, see details below.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
My husband and I both work full time and are blessed to have two wonderful daughters aged 2½ and 4½. We would sometimes find ourselves in a tricky situation during school breaks as we couldn’t always find adequate childcare solutions, especially because of our kids’ young age. We found that there are quite a few offers for camps and activities during the school breaks for kids aged 5 and up, but nothing much for kids below that age, so I started entertaining the idea of doing something about it and filling that gap, and when the opportunity presented itself I created Fun4Kids.