Waldorf & The Importance Of Mother Tongue

Now-a-days, it is very common to find parents losing the connect they have with their native languages and home cultures. We are often tempted to use a language which is foreign to young children...even before the child is yet to begin crawling, leave alone talking!


There is a rush to buy flash cards, story books and activity materials so that we can read to our child and train them to learn English as early as possible. We believe that by doing so they will not be left behind when they are ready to join schools.


Evolution of Languages

In the evolution of humanity, spoken language developed first. Then came written language, originally through symbols (Hieroglyphs). Finally, once there was a written language, people learnt to read.


This is precisely the sequence in which children master language, and so is the sequence in which reading is taught in Waldorf education. From birth to the age of 7, the focus is on the spoken language.


Importance of Mother Tongue

In my opinion, mother tongue is the first language a child hears when s/he is in the womb. You may be reading stories to your child in English, but when you are conversing with your spouse or other members in family, you are naturally using your native language. According to me, native tongues are pure and true, their sounds are soothing and connected deeply to the roots... and that is what your child is listening to!


Several researches have been conducted on the benefits of maintaining this vital bond to home language and how it is linked to our emotional wellbeing, academic development, relationships and more.


It is natural for us to think and feel in our mother tongue compared to a foreign language. Imagine what an important role it plays in the thought process and expression of a young child, when he has just begun to talk..


It doesn't matter whether you still speak it fluently or can't remember a single word of it, the first language you learnt as a child has already irreversibly changed your brain.


Waldorf & Mother Tongue

In Waldorf schools/families across the world, there is a lot of importance given to native language, culture and rituals. We sing songs in local language as the child feels at home and secured when s/he hears the same sounds as his family.


In the early years, language is learnt through everyday conversations, stories and songs..language skills are being developed daily.  Waldorf songs and stories are usually connected to the season or festival during the month and the same is repeated for 3-4 weeks for children to internalize the subject. This is also called the monthly rhythm. Through this, children associate the rhythm with the outside environment.


For eg: We are approaching Spring/ Holi/ Ugadi, we will be singing songs about flowers, colors, birds and everything we notice in seasonal changes..


Here is a song from my mother tongue Kannada, which we are singing currently:


Gubbi gubbi Chiv chiv endu

Kareyuve yarannu

Aache eeche kannanu horalisi

Noduve yenanu

Mele kelage konkisi koralanu

hudukuve yenanu

Kaalanu kottu neeranu koduve

Adalu baa illi



Sparrows (2), who are you calling with that tweet tweet sound?

What are you looking for, looking here and there,

What are you looking for, searching up and down,

I will give you seeds and water,

Come and play with me!


When we talk about bringing out one’s individuality, creativity and expression…it is possible only when we are connected to our roots and culture and culture my dear friends, is deeply associated with language, our mother language.


Discover the true importance of staying connected to your mother tongue and methods of incorporating it more into your everyday life and your child’s!


Tell me what you think in comments below!


Banner Image: sainik.io


Also read: Importance of Teaching Native Language to Young Children

Explore the entire collection of articles: Speech & Languages



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Comments (11)

Bhagya Lakshmi Kota

Good One ! I find children speaking in English leaving behind their mother tongue. English is for only communication but people take it as a Status. I am speaking with my kid in my mother tongue Telugu... It makes me a big difference when my kid calls me 'mom' instead of 'Amma'

Divya B A

So glad to know Bhagya 😊

Vipra Naik

Children need to know n speak their native language, english they will learn as it is once they r in school n college.

Anisha Bhatt

Couldn't agree more. I have experienced parents try really hard to fit in so that they can make a classy presence. I agree with Bhagya Laxmi language is for communication, and as long as we can clearly communicate the idea, any language people involved in conversation understand, should be used. I speak with my 2mo in Gujarati/ Hindi which is my/my husbands mother tongue, and eventually will introduce English. Loved the concept of order in which the human evolution happened and the flow in which we learnt to communicate. Would recommend more mothers like me to go for mother tongue than English as a language of communication

Divya B A


Divya B A

Absolutely Vipra 🤗

Senthurselvi Ramamoorthy

Nice one Divya..This is so true.I have seen the difference it makes with the children and ability to speak and understanding also differs with that..

Divya B A

Thank you Senthurselvi 💕😃

Ramya Nair

You guys spoke my mind. I so want my child to learn my mother tongue and the emphasis of 'amma' than mummy or mom is something I cant make others understand. Although i know my child will be very confused with languages (since his father and I have diff native languages) as he grows but nonetheless he will atleast be a part of both cultures rather than just english or hindi.
I used to listen to only malayalam songs since my first trimester in the hope that my baby will be familiar with the language after birth😂😂


Hi Divya, I have tried to translate that sparrow song on Hindi for my son.
चिडिया रानी चिडिया रानी
चहचहाकर किसे पुकारो
इधर उधर कया देखती हो
मुझको भी बताओ
कया खोजती हो ऊपर नीचे
मुझको भी बताओ
मेरे पास आओ तुम
तुमको दूँगा बीज और पानी
मेरे संग तुम खेलो पयारी चिडिया रानी
Please ignore typing error.

Divya B A

That's awesome Deepika 😍💗👌

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