English As An Additional Language And My Child PDF

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English as anadditional languageand my childWhat to expect from the Universityof Nottingham Childcare Services

ContentsIntroduction3The importance of home languages4Children learning English as an additional language6What we will do to support your child8What you can do to help your child at home14What happens if language is slow to develop15Frequently asked questions172

IntroductionHere at Childcare Services we celebrate that we currently have20 languages in addition to English spoken across the twosettings1. Of these 20 languages spoken, there are 18 used bychildren and their families attending the settings. In January2015, 34% of the children in attendance at the Day Nurseryhad English as an additional language and 80% of children atthe Playcentre. You and your families are from a mix of EU andinternational countries. Across the whole of Childcare Services20% of children are multilingual.We recognise that with your child our aim is to match theirdevelopment and learning needs. Our equitable and inclusiveprovision means that your child is welcomed, nurtured andsupported to achieve the best that they can.Staff in our provision are experienced in supporting children forwhom English is an additional language. As with all childrenyour keyworker will develop an individual development plan tosupport your child’s development with particular attention totheir language. This booklet aims to guide you in how childrendeveloping English as an additional language will be supportedand how you can help them further at home.1Data collected in January 2015 across the whole of Childcare Services3

The importance of homelanguagesLanguage is important to us all and we use it to communicateour wants and needs, to express our inner thoughts andemotions and to make sense of the world around us. We use itto establish social rules and to maintain our culture. Here atChildcare Services we recognise the importance of your child’sfirst language and how this is part of their family values andculture. We also know that children learn at different rates andlearning a language is no exception to this. This is why weplace great emphasis on supporting every child in theirlanguage development whether they are learning one, two ormore languages.The role of the firstlanguage in your child’slearning is of greatimportance. Your childneeds to develop a strongfoundation in thedominant language whichis usually the one used inthe home. The homelanguage or first language is important for both social andcultural understanding and acceptance. It is important thatyour child can understand what is being spoken around themwhen in their home and community for them to value andrespect their heritages. It helps maintain positive family andcommunity connections. Often children attending ourprovisions will be returning to their home countries after anumber of months or years with us. Therefore it is importantfor your child to have a good understanding of, and if possible,spoken language in their mother tongue for them to beaccepted back into their home community.4

We encourage a home language as a foundation for languagedevelopment, and this will then support the development ofEnglish. This is why we encourage you to continue to use yourchild’s home language at home. If home languages are notused you may lose the ability to share thoughts and ideas withyour child and inevitably the ability to shape, guide andinfluence their lives.5

Children learning English as anadditional languageIt is important for everyone to remember that children learningEnglish as an additional language (EAL) are as able as anyother children. Many children go through a silent phasehowever as children usually understand more than they cansay, this is just another phase of their learning.Understanding is always in advance of spoken language and itis important that children do not feel pressured to speak beforethey feel confident and ready. However, it is essential thatadults around them continue to talk with the expectation thatchildren will respond.Young children are very open to learning new languages. Oneof the first windows of opportunity for language comes early inlife. At six months a baby learns which mouth movements gowith sounds, hence the importance of face to faceconversations. By the second year of life they are able tomake connections with what they hear and see. For examplewhen a child sees a picture and hears the name or word givento it they understand the two are connected. Reciting nurseryrhymes, songs and poems and looking at books helps todevelop this. Between 24 and 35 months children are able toform mental symbols for objects, people and events. This is6

related to their growing use of words and simple sentences andthe ability to imagine the thing they hear spoken. It is duringthe pre-school years that composition and grammar isdeveloped but of course we go on learning new wordsthroughout life.For your child learning EAL they may mix the two languagesinitially but will usually ‘sort them out’ by 2.5 years of age.They will then separate the words used in each language andknow which language is used by whom. By the age of sevenyour child is likely to be able to cope with both languages,using both vocabulary and grammar appropriately for theirage.MultilingualismHearing two languages spoken at home is a real advantage forchildren. If a child hears two languages from birth they willmaintain the ability to hear sounds of both and be able tospeak each language with the accent of the native tongue. Ifeach parent speaks a different language at home it is helpfulfor a child to hear the same language consistently from theparent who is the native speaker. E.g. French speaking motherspeaks French and the Spanish speaking father speaksSpanish.If a child is exposed to a second language for the first timeafter the age of three, they can still acquire the secondlanguage easily because by then they know the rules ofcommunication. In three to seven months the child wouldunderstand the second language and after two years theywould be able to carry on a fluent conversation. Hence one ofthe reasons we offer French lessons to children aged three andover in Childcare Services!7

What we will do to supportyour childFirstly we strongly recommend you continue to use your nativelanguage or languages at home and let us speak English in thesettings initially. As mentioned earlier it is possible for childrento learn a language after the age of three and easier if beforethe age of three. Therefore be aware they will hear the soundsof both languages and may confuse the two at first but theywill organise them and begin using them correctly.There are a number of things we build into our daily practicewhich are to support your child learning English as anadditional language (EAL): providing a language-rich environment that respectsyour child’s first language in addition to learning English asking you to provide us with key words (phoneticallyand written correctly) in your child’s first language whichstaff can use for communication and reassurance celebrating a diverse range of festivals and providingitems around the nursery that your child can identifywith (such as dual-language books, dolls that reflectdifferent ethnic origins)8

supporting your child through the use of signs andsymbols (to aid non-verbal communication) andparticipating in the Every Child A Talker programme asking you to provide us with details of significantevents for your child for our festival and special eventsyear planner so that we can be inclusive having a transition programme to nursery which istailored to the specific needs of your child having a pictorial daily timetable on the wall to help yourchild to understand what happens next having a ‘unit book’ of photographs of all areas of theunit, the toys and equipment, that you can take home tochat to your child about what to expect at nursery Staff will communicate with you on a daily basis aboutyour childDuring play, planned activities and circle times we engage withyour child using various techniques. These include descriptivelanguage, repetitive activities, stories, singing, circle games,hands on experiences. We also use a variety of aids and props9

e.g. puppets, talking telephones, picture cards, etc. to supportunderstanding and for your child to use to express their needsand emotions. When your child engages in play experiencesthey continue to learn. Playing is how your child practices andrehearses what they have learnt whether this is buying fruit atthe market, retelling a story they heard or wrapping boxes withpaper like a birthday present. Play can be the motivation forchildren new to English to communicate non-verbally andverbally, practice phrases and familiar words they hear to thendevelop their language further.Close observation of play interactions and the language usedenables us to decide which aspects of language to plan for andteach in more structured ways. It also determines how theenvironment will be presented to your child.ModellingModelling is very important to introduce your child to newlanguage structures and vocabulary. Your child needs to hearlanguage before they can rehearse and use it for themselves.It is also important that we encourage without beingdemanding of your child to use language and model to correctmistakes rather than tell them it’s ‘wrong’.10

QuestionsQuestions are used to support language development but areused with care. If your child knows the answers and cananswer in English it may boost their self-esteem but overuse ofclosed questions (ones that have a yes/no/right or wronganswer) can limit learning and therefore should be limited.Examples of closed questions are:“what is this?”“what colour is that?”“who is this?”However, at the early stages of developing language it isnecessary to sometimes ask these questions to check yourchild’s understanding.Open ended questions are an opportunity for extendinglanguage. It is when your child can use their critical thinkingskills to put ideas and concepts together. Examples of openended questions are:“Why do you think he is crying?”“What will happen next?”“Where do you think she went?”11

CommentaryTalking to your child whilst playing alongside them, offers agreat opportunity to develop their language and understandingof concepts. It also can provide your child with informationthey may not have known as well as check out if they haveunderstood you.Camile is behind the shop counter pressing buttonson the till. Anne the adult asks her “can I havesome apples please?” Camile passes her the apples“yes those are what I need.”Anne plays with Camile and comments “Oh you’reputting bananas on the shelf and look you have putall of the oranges together. After a few moreminutes of playing Anne asks Camile “can you giveme the basket please” but Camile hands her thebag. Anne says “Oh that’s the bag, I don’t needthat yet. Here’s the basket, now I can shop.”Camile says “I’m wearing the apron so I thekeeper” and Anne replies “you are wearing theapron so yes you are the shop keeper.”Repetition is important and not just in stories and rhymes butalso in play for your child. By offering repeat experiences, yourchild can rehearse what they have learnt and practice theirlanguage. By showing an interest in their play and languagewe encourage them to continue in their attempts to speak. Wemay as adults ‘self-talk’ through activities which also supportslanguage use with your child, for example “I’m just putting thewashing in the machine and then I will make some tea. Youcan help me cut the bananas for tea.”12

Both commentary and self-talk can be very useful in supportingyour child’s use and understanding of language. However, onlyin short periods so they do not become intrusive or inhibiting.RemodellingRemodelling language provides a positive way of dealing witherrors your child will make as they try out a new language. Forexample:“I goed to the park” we would recognise their successfulcommunication and repeat back to them “you went to thepark did you go with mummy?”This corrects the vocabulary and grammar in a positive waywhile also extending their attempts at communication withasking a question at the end. Your child needs time to reflectand absorb the language around them and we are then readyto respond and initiate conversations and interactions, takingthe lead from your child’s needs and interests.13

Other childrenYour child will learn English from theirfriends as well as adults. Children areoften more ready to practice andrehearse their language in play awayfrom adults. We support interactiveactivities which encourage your child toengage in child-to-child conversations.Your child will be placed in groups ofchildren the same age in order toencourage friendships and develop ageappropriate social and language skills.What you can do to help yourchild at homeSome of the important things you can do to help your child athome develop their language in English are: continue to use your home languages at home talk to them about their day, their play and activities inthe home language build on their interests and curiosities praise your child read books, sing songs and rhymes in the home languageand English if you wish encourage friendships with children who speak Englishand the same home language as them get involved with us at Childcare Services14

What happens when languageis slow to develop?Children develop at different rates and language developmentcan also vary from one child to another. We monitor yourchild’s progress and therefore early identification for languagedelay is most beneficial. Where your child has English as anadditional language (EAL) we will always discuss with you theirlanguage development in their first language. Whenconsidering a possible language delay we would then makejudgments for both languages.Some children are just late talkers but others may have a needfor additional support. Once an assessment in both languagesis made we will discuss with you if there is a need for additionalsupport. This may include one or more of the followingdepending on the needs of your child: planning for further opportunities for your child to practiceand use language introduce the use of picture cards and symbols to supportunderstanding using simple signing to support understanding talking to your health visitor for further advice orassessment asking the Local Authority Early Years Support worker tovisit and observe your child with the aim of offeringfurther advice and assistance requesting a speech and language assessment form theChildren’s Speech and Language Therapy ServiceWhere children are developing two or more languages but thefirst language is developing as expected, we would allow moretime for the second language (English) to develop. Childrenunderstand more than they say and therefore may just needmore time to develop their conf

Children learning English as an additional language It is important for everyone to remember that children learning English as an additional language (EAL) are as able as any other children. Many children go through a silent phase however as children usually understand more than they can say, this is just another phase of their learning. Understanding is always in advance of spoken language ...