This week, we focus on LANGUAGE…….
Wellington College Bilingual Shanghai is extremely proud of the educational philosophy behind its early years’ practice. We wish to provide plentiful learning opportunities for all pupils, enabling holistic development to occur as a natural process. We believe that language acquisition is actively promoted through immersion and that learning through song embeds new language effectively in young learners in an exciting and fun way.
Learning through song supports individual growth in all aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage defined areas of learning and development; from counting to phonics, colour and shape recognition to feelings and emotions, the world around to identification of the planets; songs make learning fun, interactive and multi-dimensional.
We are fortunate to have experts in the field of English as an Additional Language (EAL) who are key members of Team Bilingual:
- Jane Williams (Curriculum Co-ordinator) holds an MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) and leads on language acquisition at Wellington College Bilingual Shanghai
- Simon Ruscoe-Price (Director of Languages) recently joined the Central Office for Wellington College China and will be an active presence around the setting, as he works with Jane to continually evolve and develop our curriculum to respond to research findings and educational thinking
Jane and Simon will be presenting a session to the parents of pupils at Wellington College Bilingual Shanghai on Wednesday 12th October from 09:00. If you are interested to attend, please contact Susan Wang (EA to the Master) at email@example.com.
This week’s Week Ahead is written by Jane Williams and I thank her for her contribution.
Promoting language acquisition
Within the setting we promote language acquisition in several ways:
- Immersion days
- Key vocabulary
We teach using themes and these themes were chosen for the pupils as areas of interest that would stimulate their interest and language development at their own pace. In a bilingual setting, teaching Chinese and English using immersion days allows children to be surrounded by one language and gives them the opportunity to develop their language ability. It helps children to listen, absorb and speak the language of that day and helps pupils to learn English naturally, like learning their native language. By having Chinese immersion days, the pupils are able to focus and extend in their understanding, building on their knowledge and skills in preparation to transfer into English. Research has shown that the level of development of children’s Chinese is a strong predictor of their English development. Learning a second language at a young age is cognitively as easy as learning a first language.
Singing (Learning Through Song)
Everyone knows the value of singing and that we find it relaxing, fun and it makes us feel happy. Research has shown that it is a great way to learn language as it helps to increase vocabulary, simple phrases and pronunciation. Joining in and learning the words using actions and with repetition allows the pupils to learn language unconsciously and they all demonstrate that they love to sing along. Singing is simply one of the best ways for developing the sound awareness skills that are critical to learning to read successfully. (http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=927) Learning songs and music can help to develop listening skills as well as build vocabulary. (http://www.abcmusicandme.com/documents/impact_of_music_on_literacy.pdf)
In each year we are working towards supporting and preparing pupils for phonics
In EY1 we do this by an emphasis of learning English through song and experimenting with instruments and sounds.
In EY2 this is developed by introducing listening activities, Phase 1 phonics:
- environmental sounds
- instrumental sounds
- body percussion
- rhythm and rhyme
- voice sounds
- blending and segmenting
- If in term 3 some children are ready, teachers may introduce the Phase 2 phonics
In EY3 we introduce Phase 2 phonics using letters and sounds
- As pupils progress and learn the sounds, they also learn to blend and segment the sounds and most importantly, begin reading
- Pupils will progress at their individual speed, as we all learn differently
Teachers plan together and decide on key vocabulary that can be introduced during each theme. The aim is to broaden the pupils’ receptive vocabulary and through repetition and reinforcement to become part of their daily language use in both Chinese and English.
How do we promote language in the setting?
- Ensure that every opportunity is taken to promote bilingual language acquisition
- Listen to what pupils say, to encourage and promote respect and language learning
- Pupils need to feel valued in what they say, given the opportunity to share their ideas and this helps with language acquisition. Show and tell, and talking about what the pupils did at the weekend/in the holidays can promote language, when they are ready and confident
- Take every opportunity to model language and introduce new language
- As a bilingual setting, we value both languages equally and promote the use of both languages. If pupils choose to speak in English on a Chinese day and Chinese on an English day, the teaching teams respect that choice, returning to the language of the day after listening and offering any support needed
Important Upcoming Dates in our Calendar
Mid-Autumn Festival – school is closed Thursday 15th and Friday 16th September
EY1 Learning Through Song Tuesday 27th September 3.15 pm
EY2 Learning Through Song Wednesday 28th September 3.15 pm
EY3 Learning Through Song Thursday 29th September 3.15 pm