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EAL children in Nursery -help!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by May2, May 24, 2011.

  1. May2

    May2 Occasional commenter

    I have 2 EAL children in my nursery and am struggling to know how to really help them. Amazingly after many years of teaching this is the first time I have had EAL in nursery. They both have dads who speak some English but the native tongue is all they speak at home.They have been in nursery since January and I was told to just let them be immersed in the language and let them absorb it.By the way they do not speak the same language as each other. One of them understood a little English but didn't speak, the other no English at all.
    We started by just saying basically nouns such as coat and doing actions of putting on coat and pointing to cloakroom when it was time to put on coats. They then copied the word we said.
    I now feel they aren't really progressing as much as I expected and one never initiates speaking just taps us and points and is now more reluctant to copy our words, the other does say single words. The one who is not saying anything has always behaved ok ish on the carpet despite not understanding much (just for short spells, action rhymes etc) but is actually beginning to be led by the more disruptive poor listeners.
    I really need some suggestions of which way to go with them and how to progress. We have talked about books and pointed out animals for them to say. They can both count and know some colours but it is trying to get them to do any free speaking. While writing this Ihave realised that they are both understanding more now but just not speaking as much as I'd like.
  2. dc521

    dc521 New commenter

    What are the languages? This can be critical to EAL integration / immersion in English. If it's Polish, then there's a lot of advice I can offer.
    Speaking as a KS2 teacher who has more languages in the class than I can count, I do the following things:
    1. Phonics. Nursery children can easily be exposed to Phase 1 of letters and sounds. It does help with children attempting language.
    2. Repeating as much language as possible. My school's nursery teacher is a master of repeating the same thing 100 times.
    3. Encouraging new words: HFW / key words at all times. Bribery time: sticker every time you hear an English word? ;)
    4. Games. With an adult or child, it's amazing what language emerges when playing simple games like snap etc.
    Free speaking in a new language can take a long time. I often 'pair' EAL with an English speaking child who can and will talk the hind leg off a donkey. That often 'triggers' social use of language. While EYFS is child based learning etc. you might have to engineer who plays with whom ;)
  3. May2

    May2 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your quick response. They are not Polish and I would rather not say as I could be identified. We have no other children in our school who speak these languages either.
    I think your bribery sticker idea for English words might be a good idea. They are involved in the Phonics and games etc so I guess its just a case of keeping at it.
  4. dc521

    dc521 New commenter

    You do need to research the languages that they use and see what tree they fall into.
    Here's a VERY rough guide to what I mean:
    English, Dutch and German have a 'common' tree. Russian is NOT part of that tree.
    When you understand how the home language links to others, you get a sense of the grammar etc. This means you often learn how to phrase things in English that the children can grasp that are not in the home language.
    Pester your LA EYFS team. Not for a 'flowery' course on EAL but hard resources. You might need something like bilingual story books with the CD. They don't teach the language but can encourage some form of communication. I can't lay my hands on the company name / resource but there are bits out there. Even with Nursery children, seeing the home and English in text form can be of great use.

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