by Anna Sawa
Unique needs and development potential of preschool-age children demand creative attitude towards organisation of learning environment. That is why well-qualified kindergarten teachers are needed who are able to understand differences in teaching children and adults.
Understanding how children assimilate a foreign language
Preschoolers learn in a natural way. It is essential for kindergarten teachers to expose them to a foreign language as often as possible during everyday activities that are real and understandable. Read more about how children assimilate a foreign language.
Typical teaching stages as presentation, exercises and free communication, teachers of English in kindergartens should replace with physical movement, games, songs, rhymes and craft activities. Because of short attention span, kindergarten teachers have to monitor students’ involvement and change the activities to keep their interest.
A kindergarten teacher is responsible not only for appropriate using of the language, but also for students’ motivation and attitude to English classes. That is why teachers of English in kindergartens have to be great linguists as well as early childhood educators.
Diversified and catching resources
The best way to catch children’s attention is using the rich range of materials and resources such as toys, pictures, board games, storybooks, jigsaw puzzles, etc. What is more, visuals are helpful in support students’ understanding of context. It is essential for kindergarten foreign language teachers to collect a resource pack that can be used during English lessons.
A kindergarten teacher has to take into consideration that all children are unique in their experience that they bring to the classroom as well as in their personal preferences and development. Different reactions for a foreign language are possible – some students actively participate in games, sing songs and repeat new words and phrases. On the other hand some students stand aside and only observe the teacher and other students, but it does not mean they do not learn.
All these conditions have a great influence on effective and child-friendly English teaching in a kindergarten. Positive experience in early stage will be a solid foundation for learning in the next years.
- Granddol, D. 2006 English Next. Why Global English may mean the end of 'English as a Foreign Language', British Council
- Moon, J. 2005 Children Learning English. A Guidebook For English Language Teachers, Macmillan
- Szpotowicz, M., Szulc-Kurpska, M. 2011 Teaching English to Young Learners, Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN