Top tips to help you support bilingual children in your setting
Ways to support bilingual children
- Make sure you can pronounce their name correctly.
- Find out how much they understand the languages spoken at home.
- Give them plenty of listening time. Remember, children usually go through a silent period before they are ready to speak, so make sure you keep talking even when they do not respond.
- Use their home language as much as possible, especially when they first arrive and are settling in.
- If they are at the early stages of learning English, encourage the use of non-verbal responses.
- Praise them for any attempts to communicate.
- Limit your questions.
- Use plenty of visuals (gestures, pictures, real objects, visual timetable) to help their understanding.
- Demonstrate your instructions alongside the words you are using.
- Repeat and emphasise key words.
- Model language while playing next to them and comment on their play.
- Tell repetitive stories and play games that involve repetition of language.
- Allow time for them to respond (10 second rule).
- Keep records of their progress to share with parents and colleagues.
- Advise parents to speak their first language at home. This will support their child's developing English language skills.
- Invite parents to share books, songs, pictures, toys, traditional costumes and food from their own cultures.
Remember - children are natural linguists.
How we can help
- Advice and guidance to practitioners working with early years children in nurseries, pre-schools, childminder settings, children's centres and reception classes
- Training to promote bilingualism and share a range of strategies to support young children new to English language.
- Workshops for bilingual families in Children's Centres where parents can find out the importance of first language when their child is learning English.
- Courses are available via CPD Online
For further information, please contact Monika Pardo