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  1. #1
    Rondee Guest

    Default Teaching English to Preschool Children

    I teach a three-year-old Head Start class with 15 out of 17 children having a primary language other than English. In addition 8 of the 17 have Developmental Delays of one kind or another. I am struggling to find ways to increase vocabulary and verbal communication skills and hold the attention of those who understand English fairly well at the same time. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    I hadn't seen this one!!! Unfortunately, I have no experience of teaching children of this age, so I can't really comment. Sorry.

  3. #3
    ensenarIngles Guest

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    For the most part, teaching English to 3-year olds should not be difficult because of their lack of proficiency in their native language. At my ESL program, all of the children learned verbal English without formal instruction (even though they all spoke Spanish natively), but needed help with written work. The reason is that children learn very easily. Merely show them an object and pronounce the word. For example, pick up a pencil and slowly pronounce the word. Also, word games are very fun for young children. The only problem arises when the children are trying to communicate something complicated to the adults such as wanting a snack or something else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ensenarIngles
    For the most part, teaching English to 3-year olds should not be difficult because of their lack of proficiency in their native language. At my ESL program, all of the children learned verbal English without formal instruction (even though they all spoke Spanish natively), but needed help with written work. The reason is that children learn very easily. Merely show them an object and pronounce the word. For example, pick up a pencil and slowly pronounce the word. Also, word games are very fun for young children. The only problem arises when the children are trying to communicate something complicated to the adults such as wanting a snack or something else.
    Hi ensenarIngles,
    I can understand that you want to teach children english as a sec. language more effectively than ever.But you should, in my opinion, take their ages and learning capacities(how length they can be taught at such ages) into consideration.
    Henry

  5. #5
    Teaching English Games is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English to Preschool Children

    I realize this post was started a long time ago, but did want to add to it for anyone else out there that might find the information useful. Teaching young learners is my specialty and teaching with games and stories is my preference.

    Children love games and stories so you can capture their attention while building their vocabulary and language.

    For kids of this age, you can use use board-type games or interactive games, games with miming, movement, dressing up, make believe and guessing games etc.

    Do bear in mind though that the games should be non-competitive. Preschoolers are too young to be faced with the stress of winning and losing. It is nicer for everyone to win.

    Vary the pace, mix up quiet games with games involving movement so that you keep the children on their toes without them becoming over excited.

    Stories and songs are the best vehicles to allow language absorption on a subconscious level as well as reviewing known vocabulary. Before telling the story pre-teach all the main vocabulary with games so that the children will be able to follow the events with the aid of pictures and the words of the story itself.

    As for having children who do speak English, have them help those who need more instruction. Make the older children group leaders and let them lead the games.

    Putting on a show for parents and for the other children in school at the end of each term is a great incentive to children. You can give the older children bigger parts at such an event.

    Kind regards,
    Shelley
    Receive free games and an illustrated story to have fun teaching your preschool children English: Preschool ESL: Games, activities and stories for teaching English to preschool children
    Last edited by Teaching English Games; 14-Jan-2007 at 20:18. Reason: changed the post quite a bit

  6. #6
    eflnow is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English to Preschool Children

    Quote Originally Posted by Teaching English Games View Post
    I realize this post was started a long time ago, but did want to add to it for anyone else out there that might find the information useful. Teaching young learners is my specialty and teaching with games is my preference.

    That said, anytime you have young learners you can use games, especially because chidren of this age like playing and playing games the best, so it's a logical method of teaching them new skills.

    For kids of this age, you can use use board-type games or interaction games, just remember to keep the rules few in number as well as simple so they don't get bogged down with the mechanics of the game and end up losing sight of what you really want to teach them. Also, it's important to be aware of the competition factor at this age. You want them to play to learn, not play to win or not play at all because they are frustrated that they cannot seem to win.

    As for having children who do speak English, have them help those who need more instruction.

    Kind regards,
    Shelley
    Receive free games and ideas to make teaching children more fun on: ESL games and activities for teaching English to children

    Technically speaking the games and ideas are not exactly free. I just checked it out. You must subscribe to the newsletter ($36) monthly to receive the game or idea (one per month!)

  7. #7
    Harry Smith's Avatar
    Harry Smith is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English to Preschool Children

    Quote Originally Posted by Rondee View Post
    I teach a three-year-old Head Start class with 15 out of 17 children having a primary language other than English. In addition 8 of the 17 have Developmental Delays of one kind or another. I am struggling to find ways to increase vocabulary and verbal communication skills and hold the attention of those who understand English fairly well at the same time. Any ideas?
    I'd advise you to work more actively with those who understand English fairy well. Those who have little knowledge will follow them and take an active part. Don't forget that three-year-old children have a brilliant memory and can immitate others easily. Once I had to teach them. It was 25 years ago. After my attempt English became popular in nursary schools(kindergartens).

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Teaching English to Preschool Children

    Quote Originally Posted by eflnow View Post
    Technically speaking the games and ideas are not exactly free. I just checked it out. You must subscribe to the newsletter ($36) monthly to receive the game or idea (one per month!)
    Eflnow, I checked this and, if I understand correctly, the newsletter is free- it says it's worth $36. It's the e-book that is for sale.

  9. #9
    Teaching English Games is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Re: Teaching English to Preschool Children

    Quote Originally Posted by eflnow View Post
    Technically speaking the games and ideas are not exactly free. I just checked it out. You must subscribe to the newsletter ($36) monthly to receive the game or idea (one per month!)
    Hello there - yes the games are free. In addition I am giving away a mini-series based around a story written for 3-5 year olds learning English.

    The mini-series contains games, flashcards, an illustrated story, tips on story-telling and post-story activities.

    You can get this, (also free), on Preschool ESL: Games, activities and stories for teaching English to preschool children

    I'll post the story telling tips here for those who might be interested:

    Story Telling Tips
    Have the children seated in front of you on the floor where they can all see the pictures. The pictures are key to understanding so it is vital that the children can see them easily.

    Show the first picture and you can ask the children what they see, asking them to name the animal or objects. It is OK if the children use their own language to reply, but as you will have pre-taught the key vocabulary, see if you can also elicit the words in English.

    Start the story, using as much vocal and facial expression as possible, and acting out the story with gestures wherever you can.

    Use dramatic voices to fit the personality of your characters. Practise beforehand with high and squeaky, low and gruff and any variation in between. As well as the pitch you can make the voice loud or soft, slow or fast, breathlessness, sound sad or happy.

    Use gestures. Hang your head in sadness or look worried and tearful, or happy as appropriate depending on the event in the story. Get the children to imitate the character in the story and look happy or sad.

    Add in animal noises, or a little song or rhyme that you might make up. For example in the marching ants story you could do some sound effects of the marching ants and have the children join in with you. Sound effects can be vocal or with instruments or improvised instruments such as clapping or tapping body parts of items.

    You can ask some simple questions such as, "Where is the giraffe?" or "Is the bird hungry?" depending on whatever is relevant to the story.

    You can ask the children to guess what will happen next, and they can do this in their native language. The guessing game helps draw them in to be more curious about the story.

    If the children are engaged then continue to elicit vocabulary, and the guessing game with each picture. However you may also want sometimes just to read the story and only stop to ask a few questions here and there so that the process does not drag on too long. You can decide that each time depending on the feeling you have in the classroom. Certainly reading the story should be enjoyable and you do not want to make a meal of it and spoil the fun by eliciting vocabulary the whole time.

    It is not necessary to insist the children sit tight; as long as they are quiet they will be hearing the words regardless. However if there is global restlessness then you are probably making too much of a meal eliciting vocabulary and dragging the story out, so you can tell it quicker and move on to an activity involving movement as a change from the quiet sitting period.

    Kind regards

    Shelley

    Preschool ESL: Free mini-series with story on this link!
    Preschool ESL: Games, activities and stories for teaching English to preschool children

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    Default Re: Teaching English to Preschool Children

    I just finished 2 years in Japan teaching 3-5 year olds. I had up to 15 on any given day. I only had one special needs child. He was on his way to being legally blind. I have never dealt with that before and he was so far behind the rest of the kids. You have even more and my guess is various disabilities. My best advice is this. Find a day to get on line, email the organizations that deal with those disabilities. I left emails all over Canada and the US looking for any suggestions on how to fit them into the class and enjoy it. You cant deal with teaching them if you dont have all the info on the disability and how one would go about teaching them.

    Its not easy but hopefully you will hit the jackpot. The more info you have the easier it may be to teach them. I hope you have an assistant as that seems like a handful for one teacher to deal with. Perhaps there are forums for parents of those disabilities. Parents do know their children best and may have ideas of how to reach the child.

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