(Andrea Gerlin’s article appeared on Bloomberg, 9/30.)
The 450 children enrolled in Britannia Village Primary School in east London, one of the poorest places in the U.K., speak 56 different languages at home. At their school, ranked among the best in Britain, they study Shakespeare beginning at age 4.
Many show up on their first day of school barely able to speak a word of English. Their families have often recently arrived from India, Pakistan, Ghana, Bulgaria and elsewhere. By mid-year, the children are studying and reciting the Bard’s great works. During their first year, these little students begin performing short plays, adapted from his most famous — “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” then “The Tempest” and “Romeo and Juliet.”