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Eal Help


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Hi all,

 

We have two EAL children in my setting (both with same language). This is the first time any of our children have had EAL and so experience is limited!

 

I've read up as much detail as I can find on supporting these children and would like to add labels, learn songs, common words, use their home name in addition to english name (which looks very different).

 

But my problem is that the parents are not receptive to my proposals, both just say that they are here to speak and learn English and don't want any sign of their home language. One parent was not impressed with the dual language book I sourced (at great expense!) or the fact that the 2 children had a long conversation in their home language (for the first time) which I thought was lovely but she said I must tell them to stop and speak English....

 

Any views, support, reassurances, advise very gratefully received!

 

:o

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HI

I sympathise and what you describe is the situation I often find myself in. In general terms parents expect to pop their little darlings into preschool, leave them to it and expect them to learn fluent English very quickly and often with no English heard or spoken outside the setting!

 

We have signs and labels in a huge range of languages and for each new child with EAL we ensure their language is included.

 

I have 'battled' with parents in the past but things are now a little easier. We recently had a child with Arabic as their first language and parents whose English was pretty good. I got basic words in arabic from the parents eg. Hello, good morning, goodbye, drink, shoes, coat, toilet, happy etc etc and wrote them down - I also got the parents to check my pronunciation and for the first few weeks the child was greeted by me in arabic, snack time was 'drink' in arabic etc. I then started using arabic and english together. Six weeks on signs remain, I rarely use my new found arabic and this child now says good morning, goodbye, and is able to let us know when she is hungry, thirsty, needs the loo, is sad etc etc . Her receptive language is coming on in leaps and bounds and her expressive language is progressing 'well' too so setting and parents are happy.

 

The signs/labels thing is something we have always done and we have languages displayed that have never been 'needed' by us for children attending.

 

Not sure i have been much help but do sympathise as I have struggled in the past.

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Over the years we have had children who spoke,Portuguese, Dutch, German, Swiss German, Urdu, Gugerati, Hindi,Russian,

Albanian,French, Afrikaans, Lugandan, Ibo, Japanese, Italian, Cantonese Chinese ,Mandarin Chinese, Polish and Slovakian. With some families it has been easy to get them to accept that in the beginning we need details of their home language but persevere transition is difficult enough for the children in the early days. I also ask for a list of basic needs which are written as they sound and this list is posted throughout the nursery, so that all staff can communicate with the child/ren.

 

We also have dictionaries for staff to use with parents who are not too fluent in English, dual language books and we use cassette recorders to record the parents voices if our pronunciation is alittle " lacking" in clarity, but its worth it all the children have been fluent in both languages before leaving for school..

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Ask your local speech therapist for a copy of the nhs leaflet- East or West, Home language is best- which explains how children who are competent in one language quickly go onto acquire another. It sounds like it might be a useful thing to give to the parents of these children? Goo dluck.

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What is the parents' English like? Do they speak any English at home? (I'm assuming not if these children are coming with nothing at all!) Perhaps you need to have a chat with them about how the children need some context to 'hook' the English word onto and that the best way of doing this is for you to give the word in the home language too.

 

It sounds like they are worried about the child being 'lazy' and using the home language because they can get by with it and therefore not trying to learn the English so it might be worth talking to them about how this won't be the case at all, especially since children tend to absorb things a lot more easily than adults.

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