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Facebook Rhymetimes: Connecting Communities Digitally

Recent guidelines on social distancing and staying at home due to COVID-19 have undoubtedly had an impact on the delivery of MiFriendly Cities activities, which pride themselves on bringing host and migrant communities together.

Perhaps one of the areas hit hardest is Share My Language. Share My Language means purposeful, accessible and informal language and culture exchange, something which MiFriendly Cities has looked to build into a variety of activities.

One element of this is Share My Language Rhymetimes, which usually take place in libraries across Coventry. These rhyme sessions for children bring people from different backgrounds together, encouraging the sharing of language and culture through rhymes and activities.

With libraries closed and families stuck at home, the MiFriendly Cities team recognised that now, more than ever, these rhymetime sessions are essential to help people feel connected to their community and to support guardians that are facing a new set of pressures whilst trying to keep their little ones entertained.

The solution? Share My Language Rhymetimes, but on Facebook Live. On the 2nd April, MiFriendly Cities trialled its first Facebook Live delivery of Share My Language. The session included some dancing and singing and gave a light introduction to different languages for the children at home.

 In the second video in the series, more viewers engaged with commenting ‘hello’ in their mother language, showing it is possible to share language and culture from the comfort of your living room – even with restrictions in place! Share My Language Coordinator Indy Donald also looked at child-friendly explanations of how to follow government guidelines and has encouraged guardians to share rhymes from the countries in which they were born and/or raised.

Together, the two videos boast over 280 views! You can get involved and help us spread the word by heading to ‘MiFriendly Cities’ on Facebook and watching old sessions under ‘videos’. Alternatively, join us live on Facebook each Thursday, between 11:00-11:30am. The MiFriendly Cities team look forward to seeing you there!                                                             

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