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Words to teach a 2 year old with no English


Guest sn0wdr0p
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Guest sn0wdr0p

We have a two year old girl who has just started with us two weeks ago who speaks no English and Mum speaks very little. This is the first child we have had who understands no English. We starting to sign and use simple instructional words and words for objects such as toilet, drink, play, dance, sit, wash hands. Can anyone please make any suggestions or pointers to resources informing us of what words we should try teaching her.

 

I think we have all found the last two weeks since she started pretty upsetting as for the first week and a half she cried a lot - normally we comfort children by reassuring them that mummy will come back later. On a positive note she now settles quickly in my arms although she screams if I need to leave the room but when I am around she is now content.

 

Mum asked me last week how many English words she had learnt !! Bless her the little poppet would not have heard anything the first week through the crying other than me humming and lots of words of comfort.

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what's she speaking?

 

I think the words you are going for are the ones that are most relevant and therefore the ones she needs to know! I never teach the same 'set' of words it really depends on the child's interest (so one of my korean boys first english word was ....triceratops!!)...i used to try and teach language formally i.e. by creating a sort of dictionary but i never found it worked because the children picked it up slowly at first and then completely overtook my word lists! Just one thing i would remember she is learning all the time...she does not need to be able to speak to get herself understood (language is only a tiny percentage of communication) and she will be able to play with children of her own age with no common language between them. Encourage her to play with others and the words will come really quickly...dont see it as a problem for her...she won't!

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We have a little Russian speaking boy aged just 3. He has been with us for just 3 weeks and is already picking up words. His mum speaks a little English and we have had a little help from our SIP. We asked mum to write down useful words in phonetic Russian and this has helped. The only thing is when he talks to us in Russian and we cannot understand anything - just have to use guesswork. He loves cars and we use this as a starting point for him as it engages his interest and we use visual prompts and signing too.

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We had a little polish girl start with us last week who mum informs us speaks no English or Polish, the mum told us they do 'babble', but she has no idea what she is saying !

She has a great interest in numbers - And she keeps returning to the magnetic numbers, holding them up to me, sorting them into the correct piles...so we are planning on using her number interest to help develop her language skills, we are also going to contact our CC for some guidance and Mum has given us a list of a few Polish words.

 

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We have a little polish boy who came to us with his profile all filled out and it looked on paper as though he was doing really rather well!!

 

He was, but only in Polish!

 

He had a polish worker at his previous nursery and when he arrived with us knew "yes" (which he said to everything!!!!)

Whilst I know he understands more than he can say it has been frustrating that we never hear any talk between him and his Mum in English (she has pretty good English) and it appears that his 3 hours with us are the only English he hears.

 

With other EAL children their English has sped along because they are hearing English all the time with us and parents are trying hard at home to help too.

 

We have spoken to Mum and she says she does talk in English to him but we see no evidence of this.

 

He is due for school in September and part of me thinks that had the other nursery paid more attention to his English language it would have served him better. I appreciate the importance of his mother tongue and the cultural aspect but he was at the other nursery from a baby and I can hardly believe how very little English he has.

His hearing was checked too when he first started nursery with us because it did occur to us that maybe that was why his English was so poor.

 

We are trying to work with him a couple of times a session but sometimes it feels as though we are not winning!!!!!!!

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I realise I wittered on there and didnt answer your question!!

 

I would teach words as they are needed, you are covering basics so introduce others as and when the little girl shows an interest in that area, ie food at tuck time or colours when playing cars etc!!

 

I have a list of words children usually learn first but she may not go that route in English!!

 

Words with concrete examples I would go for!!

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Don't forget that many English speaking two year olds will only be starting to develop their language anyway, so she won't be very far behind them.

We have found that some parents of children with EAL feel pressure for their child to 'learn English' and are keen for us to teach them by rote. We reassure them that their English will develop at their own pace and naturally as they play and begin to integrate. And it does! :1b

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And always remember that children UNDERSTAND language a long time before they attempt to speak it themselves - think of babies learning language and how much they understand of what you are saying to them. It is very common for EAL children to have a long silent period when they are not attempting to say anything at all. Don't worry about this - just make sure that you provide a very language rich environment and provide loads of visual prompts, signing etc to give your little girl an extra "layer" of clues to help her understand. Also use loads of non-verbal language - facial expressions, body language, pointing, etc. to enable this understanding.

 

Knowing few words in her first language, that the staff can use with her, is also a great idea. As long as he language development in her FIRST language is good - maybe you can find this out from Mum somehow? - she should't have any trouble picking up a second, but it does take time and a silent period is completely normal.

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Guest sn0wdr0p

Thank you all so much for your replies and sorry for taking so long to reply - it's been a rather bad day which I may moan about in another thread.

 

Our little girl is Lithuanian and mum never speaks in English to her infront of us. She comes to us via the 2 year funding route and does have a family support worker who has clarified that mum does not want us to speak anything but English to her.

 

Thanks for the link Catma it is really interesting reading even though it is written as though it was one of my university essays.Patton Tabors work looks very interesting and I will follow that up.

 

I aappreciate all the support and encouragement from you all. I was worried as we all feel a little out of our depth. Children with ESL are very rare in our area of East Yorkshire but your comments have reassured me that we are heading in the right direction with her.

 

Many thanks,

 

Sn0wdr0p x

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Children with ESL are very rare in our area of East Yorkshire but your comments have reassured me that we are heading in the right direction with her.

 

 

Humm do you want some more....i have 9 different languages in the pre-school at the moment!!! i'm sure i could send some oop north for you to practise on!!

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Don't stress at all and don't worry about "teaching" words - just think about how babies and toddlers learn their first language and provide the same language rich environment and support that you do for them. Your little girl will soon pick up words that are functional for her and which she is motivated to use.

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Guest sn0wdr0p

Oh what a kind offer Finlaysmaid but NO thank you.

 

We had an enquiry today for a place for a German child and she is coming tomorrow for a taster session so maybe

I spoke too soon.

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English will come, it takes time but these little once they get going are amazing, conversing in nglish and their home language.

the only thing i woul check is that they do speak ok in their home language and that this needs to be good before English

 

use one word and always have an object where posible to reinforce the word, get down on their level tap the child and or call their name bfore speaking

 

more important i think is to get them settled, feeling secure and happy before bombarding with words

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A tip I heard a few months ago is for you to lend any books you know you're going to be reading to the parents so they can red it at home in their own language, or at least tell the story through the pictures. Then when you read it in your setting the child already knows the story and can concentrate on the different words they're hearing. :1b

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This kind of pre learning activity has worked really well in one of my schools where they have practically 100% EAL in reception. They do activities around the books they will read before using the book so e.g. Handas surprise they would do lots of games with the fruit, tasting them etc or naming the animals so when they read the book the children can make sense of the concepts from the prior experiences. Most children have now after a term moved through the silent period and are making good progress in both languages.

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