Early years instruction in additional languages typically involves teaching discrete language items and ‘chunks’ and developing oral/aural skills. While this is undoubtedly valuable, it is not on its own sufficient. In this session, it is argued that in order to be effective, young children’s experience of a foreign language needs to contribute towards the overall child development goals that characterise pre-school.
In the first part of the session, key developmental attainments of pre-primary children will be discussed. These include imagination, symbolic function, beginning to be able to think and act on an internal mental plane, the integration of emotions and thinking, and self-regulation. Following this, a variety of practical classroom procedures and activities that can be used in foreign language lessons to promote the emergence of key pre-primary developmental accomplishments will be explored. Examples will include storytelling, dramatization, pretend play, games and songs as well as activities to develop pre-academic skills and motor skills.
The session will show how principled early years practice can encompass the dual function of engaging children in effectively learning a foreign language and attaining key developmental goals that are essential in laying the foundations for primary school readiness and future academic success.
“Got us all thinking about our practice and the implications of working with such young children.”
Download the abridged pdf of powerpoint slides for this talk: