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Hi

We have had a visit form our early years advisor and she says we need more activities, words in the environment etc linked to our polish children as we have 8 on roll now. I don't know what else to do we have a couple of books in polish and a poster of different words in polish, i have spoken to the parents of the children who just want their children to concentrate on english, i'm so confused what else can we put in place...... any ideas?

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Have sympathy for you, we were early providers for Polish children in our area and it seemed so hard!!

 

Keep on with the parents - we know they want their children to speak English, but they need some comfort in own langauage as well!

 

We were lucky - we had a Polish cleaner (Midwife at home, not recognised here) who we quickly got vetted and was brilliant around the nursery with unhappy/unsettled children. Also just simply for a bit of home language interaction - Ofsted were hot on this at our last Inspection! Don't forget the emphasis on finding out levels of understanding/language in Polish/home language as indicators of levels/expectations!

 

Have a search here, I feel sure there have been discussions previously, also search for EAL support in Google.

 

Sue

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We,ve just had our first polish child start, visited mon, started tue so no time to prepare, and like you ey consultant told us to learn some home language, but parents have said they want English, also advised to put up polish words/labels.....well pictures are the same in any language and as far as I can tell our 2/3 year olds can,t 'read' words in any language......have managed to google audio some basic words and made an attempt at how they should be pronounced...but haven't found much help anywhere else yet.....any help gratefully received :-)

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I recommend this website for pedagogical input on supporting EAL learners in the EYFS. It is very important that children are supported to use both their languages as they risk becoming impoverished in their home language if they do not develop the linguistic skills normally in a language they are proficient in. Support their parents to understand that using Polish in the setting will not impede their second language aquisition. It can take several years to aquire language proficiency in their second language, but they will use the language structures aquired in L1 to support their understanding of how L2 works. Equally the EYFS also requires us to support children in both their languages.

 

http://www.naldic.org.uk/eal-teaching-and-learning/outline-guidance/early-years

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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This is always a difficult one. One of our polish dads pointed out- unless staff can speak the language proficiently and confidently he would rather we just kept to English! This was said in good humour- just think of the old TV programme 'Allo Allo'.

We have a button press photo board which we try and get a native speaker - not necessarily the parent - to add spoken captions to the pictures.

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Guest TinklePrincess

One of our polish dads pointed out- unless staff can speak the language proficiently and confidently he would rather we just kept to English!

 

I think this is really important. I've actually just posted a question about this, because I have three members of staff who only really know two or three Polish words, but all three of them pronounce them differently - that must be confusing for a child - just think of English words, "tear" can be pronounced in two ways with two different meanings!

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This is on a recent ofsted report as 'this setting is not yet outstanding because':

 

Children who learn English as an additional language are not consistently encouraged to use their home language in the setting.

 

This worries me, the parents have said they don't want us to use polish but English with their child, and as you say I'm not convinced the few words we have learnt are being pronounced properly.....I'm wondering whether I should ask the parents for a letter to that effect.

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i agree, i was pulled up by this on my last ofsted, the parent wanted us to speak english to her child, she said that was why she was sending her to an english setting, she would speak her own language at home with her child her self, i explained this to ofsted but she just wouldnt have it......i'm just not sure how to cover this for ofsted as polish is very hard to read and get it pronouced correctly......

 

 

 

 

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I think of this situation the same way I think of others. So what do you do when a parent insist your job is to teach writing and reading and expects reading books and writing worksheets? What do you do when a parent insists their child cant go outside if there is the remotest chance of rain? What do you d when a parent insists their child brings chocolate and crisps for snack despite your healthy eating approach? The list goes on, and Im sure we all have experiences of this.

 

The parent insisting on the use of English only is no different from these other situations... and you may need to explain just how important it is for their child to have some access to their home language in the setting....just as you might explain why you don't do letter writing worksheets or flashcards.

 

The need to hear their home language isn't there just because the EYFS and OFSTED wants to make life difficult for already busy nurseries.. remember how you have ever felt when entering into a culture where you don't speak any of the language..its uncomfortable isn't it? And more often than not, you learn the new language with the help of the one you know.

 

In terms of pronunciation, English has many many different ways of pronouncing words and yet children learn and understand them. Getting parents on board with this not only builds their relationships with you, but also gives the message that you value their background. Once children become more confident they will correct you and you can have some fun with them, they become the expert and you the pupil.

 

When I lived overseas, the local language had virtually the same same word for teacher as for urinate... the subtlety of the words was unheard by me... you would not believe how many times I got it wrong in front of a class! But always I was welcomed for making an effort, even if it did result in a lot of laughter. I was never very good at it but I did manage a few basics.

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We had a Polish girl a couple of years ago (her sister is due to join us shortly) and we found one of those "First hundred/thousand words in Polish " books which we used to look at - particularly at snack time/lunchtime. We would point to the picture of something we had available and point to the item eg apple and our little girl would teach us how to say it. She found our attempts very amusing but it helped us bridge the gap a little. We would encourage her to try and say the word in English, but she preferred laughing at us! We also had a translator available on the phone for when we had to communicate more complex messages to Mum and Dad, which was a godsend. The lady did it for nothing as she had been in the position of not knowing the language when she came to the UK as a child and wanted to help us - lovely.

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Remembered during the day that we used the cbeebies programme/game in Polish as well sometimes (can't remember what it is called). The other chidren liked to try and use it in Polish so that they could be like their friend!

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It really doesn't make sense does it if this is the parents wishes.....we wouldn't totally disregard their wishes about anything else.
Well I have had many parents over the years giving me permission to smack their children but I chose to completely ignore their wishes! :ph34r:

 

I've never found any research or literature on second language learning that says children should only be using english to learn english. It's more than having fluent speakers available in the first language...working in inner London you'd be hard pressed to have someone for the vast range in any class or group. Turkish, nepali, arabic, yoruba, twi, french, albanian, vietnamese, russian...that's just part of one class I was visiting this week!!

However creating a culture in the setting where other language use is "permitted" is important, as is working with parents to show them how fluency in the first language is important in the development of the second language. The children will develop basic english use in contexts they understand but unless they can apply the language structure understanding they develop through their first language they will not fully develop the academic proficiency needed to succeed later on.

 

 

Cx

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Well I have had many parents over the years giving me permission to smack their children but I chose to completely ignore their wishes! :ph34r:

 

I've never found any research or literature on second language learning that says children should only be using english to learn english. It's more than having fluent speakers available in the first language...working in inner London you'd be hard pressed to have someone for the vast range in any class or group. Turkish, nepali, arabic, yoruba, twi, french, albanian, vietnamese, russian...that's just part of one class I was visiting this week!!

However creating a culture in the setting where other language use is "permitted" is important, as is working with parents to show them how fluency in the first language is important in the development of the second language. The children will develop basic english use in contexts they understand but unless they can apply the language structure understanding they develop through their first language they will not fully develop the academic proficiency needed to succeed later on.

 

 

Cx

Catma i'm really interested in this. I have found recently that my latin lanuage children pick up English at a much faster rate than say my urdu speaking children. The language structure of these non latin languages can be vastly different to English. In urdu for instance the object/subject is reversed (a bit like german!) but the sounds in some of these other languages are completely different...especially in russian and polish. There alphabets of course have a much bigger range than our own. We always encourage fluency in home languages first but i i do feel that children should be taught a common language in the setting once this is acheived otherwise it causes factions in the community...we have had issues with this in the past where children.

The SALT team only teaches in English.....so why's it ok for them and not for ey settings?

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We have had quite a few Polish children over the last few years we currently have four -plus 2 Rumanian, 1 Italian, Portuguese twins, & 5/6 Tamils. Whilst I appreciate the benefits of talking to a child in their native/first language and would always do my best to support this, there is no way myself or my staff can learn even just one or two words for the above languages. It's just too many languages and not enough time. Most of these children come to us at least understanding some English and I have always been told that English spoken badly in the wrong accent with the wrong pronunciation will result in the child speaking the same. Surely this is the same with the above languages? We've had parents tell us words even write down words but it's impossible to remember how to say as someone has already stated I have had 3 members of staff hear the same foreign word and all pronounce it differently. I would imagine this must be so difficult and confusing for a small child.

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Catma i'm really interested in this. I have found recently that my latin lanuage children pick up English at a much faster rate than say my urdu speaking children. The language structure of these non latin languages can be vastly different to English. In urdu for instance the object/subject is reversed (a bit like german!) but the sounds in some of these other languages are completely different...especially in russian and polish. There alphabets of course have a much bigger range than our own. We always encourage fluency in home languages first but i i do feel that children should be taught a common language in the setting once this is acheived otherwise it causes factions in the community...we have had issues with this in the past where children.

The SALT team only teaches in English.....so why's it ok for them and not for ey settings?

 

It isn't really about non language speakers trying to teach children in their first language but about creating a capacity for children to use their own language, especially where there are sizeable groups of children with a common language as described in the original post. This has always been best practice in terms of EAL learners especilly those new to english. The shared common underlying proficiency is about concepts of language, not surface details such as alphabet systems or pronounciation, but more along the lines of "if I understand the concept of a word in my first language I'll transfer that understanding to the new language I am learning" for example.

 

I'm not arguing for teaching EAL learners in their first language and settings will of course be using english to assess all of the Literacy ELGs for example through English exactly like the old EYFSP. We are also required to get children to a good standard of English by the end of the EYFS. However I would like the DfE to give better guidance on this given there is a)no definition of what a good standard of english by 5 is and B) we know that children can take upto 7 years to develop cognitive language proficiency in a second language which won't happen in the EYFS!!!

 

 

http://www.naldic.org.uk/eal-initial-teacher-education/resources/ite-archive-bilingualism

 

This is the work of Cummins, but Pauline Gibbons also makes the same comments in her writings on EAL learners.

"Common Underlying Proficiency

 

Cummins (1984 and 2000) also argues for a common underlying proficiency or interdependence hypothesis, in which cross-lingual proficiencies can promote the development of cognitive, academic skills. Common underlying proficiency refers to the interdependence of concepts, skills and linguistic knowledge found in a central processing system. Cummins states that cognitive and literacy skills established in the mother tongue or L1 will transfer across languages. This is often presented visually as two icebergs representing the two languages which overlap and share, underneath the water line, a common underlying proficiency or operating system. Both languages are outwardly distinct but are supported by shared concepts and knowledge derived from learning and experience and the cognitive and linguistic abilities of the learner.

Cummins%20CUP.gif

This representation also demonstrates one view of how linguistic knowledge is stored in the brain. One way of thinking of this is to consider bilingual speakers as having separately stored proficiencies in each language, and this may include pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar in the working memory, which in turn, have access to long-term memory storage that is not language specific. In other words, the use of the first or second language is informed by the working memory, but the concepts are stored as underlying proficiency."

 

Cx

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interestingly, during my half term read up of local Ofsted reports (how I love my job!) I found this in a report:

"Staff have not gained information about children's languages spoken at home. This means that they are not able to clearly provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home languages in play and learning."

 

This was also a key action.

 

Cx

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well stop and ok are universal!!! and

see-et (phonically written) is sit...other than that we use makaton!!

Have to confess that one of my polish mums corrected my linguistic skills last week sit is said sh....i......(i'll let you guess what the last letter is!!

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Have to confess that one of my polish mums corrected my linguistic skills last week sit is said sh....i......(i'll let you guess what the last letter is!!

 

But is it a long or a short vowel!! That will make ALL the difference!!

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Gosh this thread is an eye opener. We have only just started to get EAL children into our setting (Lithuanian x3, italian x1 and spanish x1) and am now not sure we are dealing with it entirely well!! We have put 'hello' in their first language up on the first board they see when they enter the setting and celebate their culture through foods and celebrations but thats all. But none of the staff have any knowledge of these languages so how can we encourage them to feel comfortable and encourage fluency in thier first language within the setting? Need to look into this one more deeply!!! However through parent/ teacher discussions I do feel parents do want their children to speak English and most of parents speak English well and feel that becoause their child speaks well in their first language at home then the setting is the place for them to learn English.

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  • 5 weeks later...

We've got roughly 50% of our children with English as their Second or other language, and can clearly see that the children that 'pick up' English most easily are those that have the most language rich environments at home, irrespective of what language is being spoken. And vice versa...

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We have many parents (past and present) whose first language is Tagalog (Filipino) and whose English is not very good. These parents have all refused to talk to their child/ren in their 'home' language and insist that their child's first language is English; so they arrive at nursery with no 'home' language, as such. The parents expect us to teach English and they then use what little English they have to back us up. No amount of persuading will change their minds, I have even had an EAL advisor in to talk to a family with no success. What I need is an information sheet (in Tagalog) explaining the reasons why the parents' first language is so important for their child and why English should be an 'additional language'. Our Polish children on the other hand come to nursery with no English, but a good understanding and use of their first language. Any suggestions would be gratefully received!

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