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  1. #1
    kfstep is offline Newbie
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    Games for Babies

    I'm currently teaching in a kindergarten in China and two of the classes are with babies about 1 and a half years old. I've been doing my best but can't seem to wrangle them in and make the listen on play the games I have. The principal is beginning to get upset because the teachers are complaining that the kids don't seem "interested in English." Does anyone have any game suggestions that are good for very young learners?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Games for Babies

    Some of the sites here are targeted for very young learners:
    Young Learners - ESL Web Directory - UsingEnglish.com

    I am afraid I have never taught young children and have no idea which of these sites would be best for you.

  3. #3
    pyoung is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Games for Babies

    Dear kfstep:

    One-and-a-half years old?!?! Not interested in English, huh? Good grief!

    Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system:

    For how long at a time are you expected to teach these babies?
    How many children are you expected to teach at one time?
    What are you doing now?
    Do you have an aide or other helper?

    There are many websites for preschool language acquisition, but most are for children older than yours. A good topic to search may be Speech and Language therapy ideas. Professionals working in this field do work with very young children and have developed a wide range of age-appropriate language development activities.

    I hesitate to give you any specific advice without knowing more about what you are doing now. Very generally, I would advise planning your activities to include a great deal of repetition, rhythm, and predictability. Also, of course, the use of colorful objects such as puppets and soft toys.

    Please feel free to write back and fill us in on the specifics of this heroic endeavor!

    All best wishes,

    Petra

    PS: I have taught children from kindergarten through secondary school, both as a regular education teacher and a learning disabilities specialist.

  4. #4
    kfstep is offline Newbie
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    Re: Games for Babies

    I teach them for half an hour, 3 words each class and the class size is generally between 15-25 students. the class sizes change weekly and im not given any warning of the number of students that week prior to walking into the classroom. when the classes are smaller we can play games like musical chairs but when you walk in to a 25 student class thats just not plausible. usually we play a game where i hide the flashcards im given and they have to find them, they race to the card or can chase after a ball after they've said the word. ive tried a few other simple games like london bridge but the Chinese teacher, who teaches them English normally, didn't understand it, which makes it difficult.

  5. #5
    pyoung is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Games for Babies

    Dear kfstep:

    25 one-and-a-half-year-old babies? Is this common? This doesn't even come close to acceptable numbers for day care, let alone a teaching situation.
    However, it's what you've got, so I'm going to think about this and ask some skillful teachers I know.
    Just to clarify: You are expected to teach three new vocabulary words a day? They're not learning Chinese that fast, are they?
    It sounds as though you have tried out some good ideas. One suggestion I have is to structure the half-hour almost identically each day: start with a simple rhythmic song, some kind of 'good morning to you' thing that has hand motions. another effective technique for getting everyone on the same page is the use of clapping games. If you can do something they will recognize and enjoy each time you switch activities, it will help with crowd control. Anything you can think of that allows the children to do something: drop the card in a box, give it to Mr. Puppet, pass it to a neighbor, put it in the green bag, blue bag, red bag, etc. will help with motivation. End the time with a little song that lets them know they're about to change activities. Little kids LOVE this kind of cue.
    And again, repetition, rhythm and predictability.
    I wish you all the best! and if I get any useful tips, I'll be sure to send them on.
    Petra

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