Children Learning English As an Additional Language

We have a high number of children within the setting who are learning English as an additional language, in the early stages of acquiring an additional language; children spend time looking and listening. They may choose to remain silent, which is perfectly normal, and this need not cause concern.

How can we help? –

  • Provide activities that are practical and interesting and build on children’s current knowledge, experiences and interests
  • Provide welcoming registration procedures for families: to include helping families to complete registration forms, taking note of languages used at home, religious and dietary needs. Accurately record the names of all family members bearing in mind that naming systems vary within different cultures. Reassure the parent/carer that their children will be safe. As far as possible make sure the parent/carer understand your settings expectations and procedures.
  • Provide visual resources/photographs to help the parent/carer and children understand your routines and sessions timetable.
  • Use visually stimulating resources-stories supported by puppets, storyboards, facial expressions and gesture.
  • Encourage children to pair with good English-speaking role models, much of the language they learn will come from their peer group
  • Don’t overload the child with too many questions and requests keep your language simple and direct at a level that they can understand.
  • Use positive facial expressions, if they don’t understand what you are saying but you look happy it will be less alarming for the child.
  • Ask if you need extra support to help the child settle in.
  • Provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in the setting.
  • Practitioners will assess children’s communication, language and literacy skills in English. If a child does not demonstrate a strong grasp of English then we explore child’s first language skills together with parents and or carers.
  • Useful phrases in home language are found out from parents during first settling in session.
  • We have a communication champion who promotes developing and challenging early language skills.
  • We have a number of bilingual staff who are able to support the children whose first languages are the same.
  • Footsteps will try to use translators when possible from spring lane and also from native speaking parents.