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hi all,


we have identified about 7 children who are EAL or bi/multilingual. we want to start supporting them more through short focused activities/group times. how do we begin? what kinds of activities and resources would be best and fun?


thanks in advance


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How old are the children Salus.

Lots of stories, books, music, singing are great fun. I also like to be familar with a few of the home language words or sentences of each individual child too.

EAL children can be storing words for up to 2/3 years before using them, so to find out whether they have understanding you might like to ask them things like "can you pass me the scissors" please, or speaking through what you are doing as you do it might help.

Have you looked at the primary strategies for EAL still available to view/ print , as well as the pre-school learning alliance literature.

Edited by Fredbear
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Salus - most of our children are EAL. We find it helps for each member of staff to carry around a set of picture cards for the most important words the children will need in order to manage daily routines and to use sign language to back this up. So, for example, we have pictures for 'snack', 'wash hands', 'put on your coat' and we use Makaton signs to back these up. As Fredbear says, music and singing seems to work well in small groups. We often introduce vocabulary through songs like 'Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush'. With stories it helps to use those with a good strong rhythm and with predictable text eg 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear' and 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'. Hope this helps.

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We have several sets of pictures I laminated them and fitted a key ring to them. Easy to carry around.

We use one or two word sentences at first.

The children understand quicker than they are able to speak. So asking questions or giving instruction you can see how well they are doing.

Modelling language as we play. Not too many words though

Gesturing, thumbs up, etc.

Have props when telling stories - I would definitely be bored if I was listening to a story in a language I didn't know.

We learn some familiar and useful words and sentences. Usually ask parents or online free translation. As long as it is the spoken words i can hear on translation I'm ok. It's great when you say something and the child understands you. Big smiles all round.

Our resources are the same as for everyone


At the moment we don't have any EAL which is unusual.

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We invested in the Blast programme to support 4 children who arrived with us last year without any English words and with a first language that we didn't have anyone on the staff to translate at all. It has been discussed on here before




We found it helpful - we used Blast 2 in Reception - and ran it exactly as it's planned. When we reached the end of the six weeks we gave it a break and then ran it again with the same children. They were able to engage much more second time around and were very proud of their own progress.


Most of our children have EAL and we are fortunate to have multi-lingual staff to support their academic concept development. We use lots of visuals and practical work, short simple sentences and repetition, a predictable routine and talking partners so that we pair up children with a shared home language so they can support each other.

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