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Guest colechin

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Guest colechin

Please could you advise me.

I mentioned before that I had a little boys starting with us, whose parents do not speak to him in English, but they wanted us to teach him English. He only watches Hungarian programs at home and when I asked why mum and dad will not speak to him in English, mum replied that it was due to her accent. She wanted him to pick up the correct pronunciation of words.


The little boy is from Hungary and I have typed up a short list of words in Hungarian for the staff to use, which then should be followed up by the English word. Mum was upset with us when she found out, because she said that she wants us to just speak English to him, but if he is doing something we do not want him to do or if he wanted the toilet, we felt that we needed to say it in Hungarian and then repeat in English.


The little boy has now been with us for a week, and by Joe don't we know we have him. He spits at you, smacks you or the other children with his hands or what ever he has in his hands. He will charge in to the other children and pull hair, scratch and be just horrible.


We have a picture schedule set up for him and we have been closely watching what he plays with. I have noticed that he like to hind his toys or play dough he has been playing with and then will come back to the table and take the other children's items. He also like to throw items around the place and will not help to pick them up, but laughs.


We have spoken to mum and she says, he is a very naughty boy at home and she sits him out, which we have also tried when he has hurt another child, but he will kick out, spit at you and wiggle about, screaming and talking in his native language.


Can anyone out there please help me with how I should be tackling this situation. I have now assigned a member of staff to be with him, so every 1/2 hour a different staff member can play with him or sit at the side of him to help defuse any difficult situation before it arises.


As you can tell this is our first EAL child. I want to make Nursery a enjoyable place for all, but at the moment it is a war zone.


Please, please, please any advise?

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It is important for EAL children to speak in their mother tongue at home , may i ask how old this child is? do you have an eal advisor you can contact,

it sounds like you are doing your best to support this child but it sounds like it his behaviour not the language barrier that is causing the problems.

there are a few websites you can go to for resources and ideas, have you tried visual signs in order for him to understand how his behaviour effects others ie hand up palm facing for stop. encourage games with another child - matching games with lots of images. simple makaton signs for please , thankyou with all the children so this can help break down barriers in communication.

can you develop a plan with parents when this boy is demonstrating inappropriate beaviour so there is consistency at home and preschool.

will try and add some more but feeling a little jaded but did not want to read and run.

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Guest colechin

Thank you for your quick reply. the little boy is 3 years old. I and the staff do us lots of thumbs up - for well done, palm of hand - for stop and also lots of body language and facial expression to let him know how we are feeling.

I do have paddles with different facial expressions on them which I could get out and us. Also the Makaton sounds very good, as this will help with the other children.

I will start and trawl the websites for ideas, but please, if anyone has any other suggestions please let me know.

I will also get in contact with my Early Years Advisor too.

Once again thank you lashes2508 for your advise.

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I know how difficult this can be having had similar issues before. It can make it very tough when you know you are going to get such a hostile reaction. What I would say is it is really really important to make sure you regularly remind yourself and the staff how extremely frightening, distressing and alarming it must be at the age of three to suddenly go from spending ALL your time with people who know you, understand you and who you understand to then be "abandonned" in an environment that is unfamiliar and where you can neither understand those around you or they you. I know you know this already but sometimes when you are feeling worn down by a really stressful situation it feels like it will last forever - it won't and in my experience even children who have additional behavioural needs show a reduction in aggressive and unwanted behaviours once they begin to pick up a few simple words to begin communicating.


With regards to the throwing things, not picking things up and laughing when you ask him to - to him your language *may* be amusing, or alternatively it could be simply that he feels pretty powerless in this situation so is exerting power the only way he can right now.


Having said all that he needs to know that the hurting and spitting is not acceptable and showing this with your body language and tone, plus asking the parents to explain why you have removed him from an activity are both important.


With our EAL children we try initially to focus on the words which will quickly impact on their experience at nursery. Starting with basic vocabulary to get their needs met e.g. toilet, milk, food. I try to enlist parents help and sometimes they will help teach the words at home, if not perhaps they could have a set of cards to take home and talk through the meaning of in Hungarian and you could have a duplicate set so he could point to something and you could repeat the English word as you currently are doing. Once they can have their basic needs met using a combination of gestures and limited language we then tend to focus next on words to facilitate social interaction "Turn please?" is a useful one! (it's obviously much easier than "Can I have a turn when you have finished please?" but still conveys the message to other children!)


I really wish you the best of luck, it can be sooooo hard because you lose so many of the tactics you would use with an English speaking child exhibiting those behaviours as they can't understand or interact verbally with you. I hope there is an EAL advisor or that your Early Years advisor has some help for you but I suspect it will end up being a case of persevere and one day you will look back at the end of a session and suddenly realise that for the first time he played nicely \ didn't spit at anyone \ didn't hurt someone etc...




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Guest colechin

Thank you everyone for your response. I keep reminding myself and staff that it must be daunting for him and also for mum to trust us with their child. We have the door open all session, so that he has access as and when he needs it. Outside he loves, but his play becomes very disruptive. Throwing sand at children, over his head, over the fence or just on the floor.

I know it will get better, as I can not get any worse!

I have spoken to my advisor and she has said I am doing all the right things, If I do not see any improvement in a months time then she will ask the SEN advisor to contact me.

I have printed off lots of matching games, so he can play with another child and I'm in the process of learning a bit of Makaton.

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