English as an additional language
Children learning English as an additional language (EAL). Many children in early years settings will have a home language other than English.
Practitioners should value this linguistic diversity and provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in their play and learning. These children will be at many stages of learning English as an additional language.
- Some children are bilingual from birth, because their families have talked to them in more than one language
- Some children will be acquiring English as an additional language. As with their first language, this needs to be learnt in a context, through practical meaningful experiences and interaction with others. These children may spend a long time listening before they speak English, and will often be able to understand much of what they hear, particularly where communication through gesture, sign, facial expression and using visual support is encouraged
Learning opportunities should be planned to help children to develop their English, and support should be provided to help them to take part in other activities by, for example
- Building on children's experiences of language at home and in the wider community by providing a range of opportunities to use their home language(s), so that their developing use of English and other languages support one another
- Providing a range of opportunities for children to engage in speaking and listening activities in English with peers and adults
- Ensuring that all children have opportunities to recognise and show respect for each child's home language
- Providing a bilingual support, in particular to extend vocabulary and support children's developing understanding
- Providing a variety of writing in the children's home languages as well as English, including books, notices and labels
- Providing opportunities for children to hear their home languages as well as English, for example through use of audio and video materials - Early Years Foundation Stage Consultation Framework P18
Short articles include -
- Early stages of learning English
- Establishing good home/setting links
- How a child might feel when entering a new setting
- Thoughts on settling a child speaking EAL
- Cultural differences
- Practical activities to support children speaking EAL
- Survival language
- Early language topics
- NALDIC research summary of the 'Early stages of learning English'
- Websites and links to other sites (pdf, 11kb) (opens in a new window)