Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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Living in a foreign country is an excellent opportunity to raise your kids bilingually as it will greatly ease their transition into Italian culture and enrich their time here. The choices you make will largely depend on the ages of your children and your home situation. There are many pedagogical approaches to raising children bilingually. One of the most common methods is for each parent to speak his or her mother tongue when

My Italian husband and I both speak English in the home to our three young children and so far it is going well. If you speak to our oldest son in one language, he will respond in that language, though the siblings seem to speak more Italian between them, especially now that our oldest is in school and we travel back to the US less frequently. We know other families who mix it up, but it seems the kids mix it up too, speaking a little English, a little Italian. Everyone has their own way that is best for them. We have made a conscious effort to speak English in the home and that has worked for us.

Hae Kyung Kang

addressing the child directly one-on-one. Generally speaking, the younger the child, the easier it is to pick up a new language. If you move to Bologna as an English-speaking family and wish for your children to attend Italian schools, then speak to the staff at the school to find out if there are any specific language programs to assist non-Italian speakers. If you feel your child will need extra tutoring in Italian, contact an Italian language school; see Chapter 1: Plugging In. An online resource for parents raising bilingual children is:


Bologna doesn’t offer a huge selection of activities for children in English, but there are a few out there. A good starting place is the IWF website,, where you can find more information about playgroups organized by English-speaking moms. The Madrelingua/English Baby Club is a language school offering English and Italian courses for bilingual children.

Madrelingua/English Baby Club

Via Altabella, 11
Tel. 051.267822 or


Studio Maria Moscato

Via dell’Angelo Custode, 61
Tel. 349.3595405
Art courses in English for children age 6 and up.


Music Together

Various class locations in Bologna, San Lazzaro di Savena and Castelmaggiore
Tel. 051.6347029
Music Together is a wonderful program for parents and children that combines song, movement, rhythm and percussion in a fun package in both English and Italian. Some schools and nurseries, such as Green Corner, also offer activities in English. Scuola Media Malpighi, for example, organizes basketball and theater classes in English. Most of the city libraries, particularly the Sala Borsa, have a selection of children’s books and videos in English.

Green Corner

Via L. Busi, 19
Tel. 051.432092

Scuola Media Malpighi

Via Audinot, 43
Tel. 051.585616