Supporting young children with English as anadditional language (EAL)BackgroundMost children with EAL already have an established home language with: a set of sounds and sound groupings intonation patterns a script or alphabet a set of sound-symbol relationships vocabulary and grammar non-verbal signalsThey will be: aware of rules about social conventions and language able to relate to people and express feelings and emotionsThey may have to learn: a new set of sounds and sound groupings new intonation patterns a new script or alphabet a new set of sound-symbol relationships new vocabulary new grammar new non-verbal signals new rules about social conventions and language to relate to people and express feelings and emotions in a new languagePage 1
Parent partnershipWhen parents and practitioners work together, it has a positive impact on children’slearning and developmentStrategies to encourage home-school partnerships: Create a welcoming environment that values all families in the setting/school. Develop ways of communicating with families with EAL e.g. through otherfamily members or other members of the different communities wherepossible. Make opportunities for staff to be available to talk to parents/carers, listeningand valuing what they have to say. Make home visits (if possible) including sharing information around thefamily’s linguistic, religious and cultural needs. Record children’s first language background and skills on admission to thesetting/school. Record cultural and religious information on admission e.g. diet, care routines,festivals and customs. Reassure parents that it is important to continue to use their first language athome to build a strong linguistic base on which to build English as anadditional language Share children’s progress with the parents and encourage parents tocontribute to their child’s learning and development record. Invite parents in to share their stories and experiences, and to help withactivities including labelling resources in their own languages. Share and encourage contributions to policy development andimplementation. Establish a translation service for the main languages: for newsletters,general information stories and tapes. Support parents to access information about children’s services that areavailable to them e.g. Children’s Centres. Support parents to be better informed about opportunities that are availablefor their own learning. Give a clear message about when and why mother tongue is being used andexplicitly encourage the use of the child’s first languagePositive relationshipsWarm and trusting relationships with a Key Person are vital to a child’s developmentin all areas as children need to feel safe and secure emotionally, to enable effectivelearning to take placeStrategies to promote relationships that enable children’s effective learning The Key Person to be involved in the initial first meeting with parents tobegin the process of true parent partnership that includes sharing ofinformation about the childPage 2
Ensure quality interactions take place between the Key Person and theirgroup of EAL children on a daily basis as this has the potential to make areal difference to the children’s learning and developmentPlayChildren’s self initiated play provides an ideal opportunity for practitioners to get toknow, interact with the children and develop their language.Strategies to use in play situations Stay alongside children, listening and observing, and join in as a play partner Guide children during play by demonstrating an alternative idea, approach orresource, to stimulate children’s thinking further as this will ensure thatthinking demands, or cognitive levels, remain high and that expectations arenot lowered simply because the practitioner and the child do not share thesame language Organise and encourage peer interaction, during episodes of play, withEnglish speaking children as well as with children with same first language.Language learning and development Promoting and supporting the continued development and use of firstlanguage for learning enables children to access learning opportunities withinthe EYFS and beyond through their full language repertoire. Cognitive challenge can and should be kept appropriately high through theprovision of linguistic and contextual support. Language acquisition goes hand in hand with cognitive and academicdevelopment, with an inclusive curriculum as the context.Strategies to support language development Build on children's experiences of language at home and in the widercommunity by providing a range of opportunities to use their homelanguage(s), so that their developing use of English and other languagessupport one another Learn some key words, phrases and gestures in the child’s first language(s)including greetings Use body language/tone of voice to give clues to the children. Use signing to support language development with consistent gestures Allow children some time to listen before they respond Continue to talk to children even if they don’t respond in words. A child maygo through a silent phase, which is not a passive stage as learning will betaking place Build on all children’s responses, interpreting non-verbal actions/gestures asproper turns in conversations, and provide a spoken English translation ofthese Be sensitive to contexts which enable children to respond to or participate,and to contexts in which children can listen without having to respondPage 3
Include children with EAL in small groups with English speaking children Reduce background noise to help children to be focused and provideactivities which help develop listening skills Use varied questions, language conventions such as please and thank you,idiomatic language, language in context Engage in songs and rhymes with plenty of repetition as they are oftenlearnt quickly and are a good source of language Develop visual resources e.g. key ring of photo prompts for routines andevery day choices of activities Model, rephrase and extend children’s language rather than focusing onmistakes Support children in joining in with the full range of activities includingroutines e.g. sharing out fruit at snack time Plan specific opportunities for children to engage in guided dialogue withadults and peers, particularly ensuring good English language models Be mindful that the conversational fluency of children learning EAL maymask potential misunderstandings in more challenging or formal situations Consciously provide opportunities to work on speech, sounds and grammarto help children learning EAL master e.g. word endings, tenses, personalpronouns and indefinite articles which may not occur in the child’s firstlanguage Model the use of English by providing a running commentary and by talkingthrough children’s actions and ideas Provide opportunities for joining in choral responses, responding in turntaking discussions which repeat patterns of language, and listening to theinteractions of other children Plan for the consistent inclusion of children with EAL in small group activitieswhich promote communication with peers. This is particularly important forchildren in the silent or non verbal period Use daily routines and related language as important opportunities forrevisiting and embedding languageAssessment and planningIt is important to assess the English language development of children with EAL toensure their learning needs are planned for and that they make good progress.Tracking their progress will identify children who may need further support and whomay have additional learning difficultiesStrategies to develop assessment and tracking of children’s English languagedevelopment Assess children’s progress in English through observation, recording theirnon-verbal gestures, body language and speech. Use Identifying Children who are Learning English as an AdditionalLanguage(EAL) and who may also have Learning Difficulties and/orDisabilities (LDD) to plan adult support for each stage. Track children’s English language development and use to inform planning. Develop systematic monitoring and rigorous tracking of EAL children usingEAL observation sheets, tracking sheets and assessment systems to ensurePage 4
their development is being monitored and to identify those at risk ofunderachievement In partnership with Yr 1 teachers, track the progress of children as they enterKS1 Ensure consistent and embedded assessment for learning is being used inFS and Yr1The physical environmentThe environment both indoors and outdoors plays a key role in supporting andextending children’s development and learning.Strategies to promote an enabling environmentEnsure: it is welcoming to all children and families it gives the children opportunities to make independent choices has a visual timetable to use with the children to support them in knowingwhat is coming next it includes provision of dual language books it has props and puppets accessible for story telling as well as story tapes forchildren to listen to it is a print rich environment including resources and working areas clearlylabelled (with words and pictures) it includes play and learning resources that positively reflect the children’scultural and linguistic identity:1. books and posters,2. labels (parents can be involved in this process),3. community language newspapers and food packets displaying a variety ofscripts to support language awareness4. role play resources that represent the children’s experience at home includingcooking utensils and food from different cultures dolls with different skin tonesand different hair textures, puzzles depicting community diversity etc5. songs, rhymes and music from different cultures.Additional resources Supporting children learning English as an additional language: Guidance forpractitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage - Primary National Strategy. Supporting bilingual children in the Early Years – National Association forLanguage Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) Identifying Children who are Learning English as an AdditionalLanguage(EAL) and who may also have Learning Difficulties and/orDisabilities (LDD) - OCCPage 5
Use Identifying Children who are Learning English as an Additional Language(EAL) and who may also have Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities (LDD) to plan adult support for each stage. Track children’s English language development and use to inform planning. Develop systematic monitoring and rigorous tracking of EAL children using EAL observation sheets, tracking sheets and assessment ...