English for the Early Years: Nurturing Language Skills in Kindergarten

Early language learning promotes the development of children’s cognitive and social skills.

Well, the language itself is also learned at a much faster rate.

But why? And how?

The whole point is that children are very good at paying attention to things like sounds and pronunciation. And when it comes to learning foreign languages, including English, this is very important. For adults, this ability is somewhat diminished.

However, this is not the only reason to learn a language at a young age. There are others to consider:

  1. In childhood, information is easier to remember. It sticks in the mind for longer.
  2. Learning languages at an early age broadens horizons and helps children develop faster.

Let’s understand what are the features of kindergarten English and what are the advantages of training in a foreign language as a child overall.

By the way, if you are thinking about sending your kid to one of these places, this British kindergarten in Russia will be an excellent option.

KG English – Main Strategies and Approaches

Source: forbes.com

In terms of the strategies that are used to teach English in kindergarten, the most tried and true is to use games and rituals. You can start the day with phonetic exercises to prepare the articulatory apparatus and vocal connections for further work, and then move on to play exercises aimed at consolidating and systematizing language skills.

The best option is to play like this for 10-15 minutes and take breaks immediately so that the child’s brain is not overloaded.

You should also pay attention to creating the right atmosphere in the classroom. Placing flags, the English alphabet, and different toys will do the trick.

And yes, children should sit on the carpet, not on uncomfortable chairs. The less tired they are, the more information they will absorb.

The Importance of English Lesson for Kindergarten

It is really easier to learn foreign languages as a child.

This is the main reason why everyone needs to start learning at a tender age.

Well, yes, it can be done later in life because there’s something called neurogenesis. Neurons appear at any age. But it is still easier for kids, at least for the reason that they take the information on the fly and are not particularly inclined to analyze it. Unlike adults.

Lots of studies and experts say that.

And expert studies, of course.

The researchers Markus Ritter, Isabelle van Ackern, Niels Jekel, and Michael Schurig decided to independently analyze the relationship between the age at which children start learning a foreign language and their language skills in high school. They assessed the listening and reading skills of 2,827 German students. Some of them started learning English in first grade, at the age of 6 or 7.

Others started in third grade, at the age of 8-9 (and compared to the first group, they studied English for 105 hours less).

It was found that the group of early language learners performed much better in reading and listening. Even after several years, the early learners maintained a high level of language comprehension and overtook those who started later.

Kindergarten in English Teaching Methods

Source: fluentu.com

We have only touched on the methods of learning English in kindergartens. So let’s dig a little deeper.

Nowadays, the following approaches are used in modern kindergartens.

Immersive Learning

Immersion is a way of experiencing the culture of the target language. In the case of English, it can be achieved by watching movies, reading local classic books, and even eating food from English-speaking countries.

But you can go the other way. For example, recreating a full-fledged “English corner”, which will include:

  • The flag or coat of arms of Great Britain and a portrait of the King (U.S. symbols can also be used).
  • Local traditional characters (Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Robin Hood, Peter Pan);
  • A list of holidays with photos;
  • Pictures of landscapes, cities;
  • Materials for games and activities.

Interactive Activities

With the help of interactivity and games, it is possible to achieve unprecedented success in teaching children. Early learning of languages and other subjects should start with playful methods.

Technology Integration

Another proven approach is the use of modern technology in teaching. To help kids learn faster, you can provide them with various web services that offer visual boards, mind maps, and various quizzes.

And yes, the use of VR and AR technologies comes in handy like never before.

Parental Involvement

Source: waldenu.edu

It is not a bad tactic to give the child the material in kindergarten and repeat it at home with parental help.

So it is possible to hire a tutor if you do not have enough time. It is also a common problem that parents cannot control their emotions and snap at their children during the repetition of tasks. This should not be allowed. If it comes to angry outbursts, it is again better to hire a tutor.

Never pressure the child. English should be learned at one’s own pace.

Case Study: Successful Programs in Senior KG English

Among the successful examples, we can mention the company ILA ASPECT. The organization implements advanced methods according to the standards of Russian and British education and uses an innovative and creative approach to teaching children, which allows them to master the language.

Challenges and Solutions

Perhaps worst of all, a child may be overly self-critical of the language acquisition process. He or she may be sad and upset when things do not work out. And unlike an adult, the child will not be able to find solutions on his or her own.

But you can help the child by reminding that he or she should only compare with himself or herself: show the kid progress, remind the successes, and be objective in praise.

The second stumbling block is an unwillingness to internalize the rules. A relaxed command of the language is great and all, but it is mandatory to understand the principles of sentence construction, syntax, and so on.

Remind your child that this is necessary, and reward him for his efforts.

Learning English at an early age is really worth it. Not only will it help to become proficient in a foreign field much faster, but it will also develop many cognitive skills.