How we learn the English language

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When children acquire a language, they perceive it from a practical point of view. They are not interested in the structure or the form of words and sentences but how they can use what they have learned. Because of this reason, it is recommended to learn/teach language in context. The same as a child learns its mother tongue – in contextual connections, without isolation of expressions, the same approach must be applied with the new language – through activities and interactions. Due to this fact, we use English language during the entire day and create a small „English world“.

Children experience the language; they are part of it during ordinary activities in the same way as it was with getting in touch with their mother tongue. Except for regular activities (circle time, eating, exercising, hygiene, …) kids acquire language through the following activities:

Morning Pedagogical Activity

Morning pedagogical activity is led in accordance with ISCED 0 (the State Educational Program for Kindergartens in Accordance with Education Law). During this activity, children get familiar with different topics, explore the world and prepare for the entry into primary school. With the help of the topic (for example family, animals, food, nature), the language is set in a context, which helps to understand it easier. The emphasis is put on the introduction of concrete terms because small children have visual (intuitive) thinking and they understand things easier, when they can touch or hear them. In a given topic, children take part in a variety of playful activities = games, songs, rhymes. In the same way, they acquire their mother tongue, too. These activities bring feelings of joy, fun and at the same time they do not have the feeling that they are studying. and acquire knowledge in a natural way. When introducing new expressions, we apply teaching through experiences and we try to involve all the senses to make the learning as natural as possible.Montessori activities play a very important role, they are used for acquiring and practicing different concepts (see more in the part – Montessori activities)

Fairy-tale English

Fairy-tale English takes part in the afternoon. Children watch short fairy-tales ( through visual presentation, language is understood easily) and then subsequently we retell the stories with the usage of different aids – pictures, toys, … Educators and psychologists still emphasize that storytelling plays important role in child’s development and at the same time in language development, too. Because of this fact, we choose this activity for adequate language development. Stories are funny, interesting and also educational. When watching them, children acquire many words, phrases, sentences. Like songs, they are a model of a foreign language because children can hear different voices, accents and so they have access to different linguistic expressions, not just from the teacher.
The aforementioned activities are interlinked in connection with expressions acquisition so that the children hear the foreign phrases and words in different contexts which is important for a strong fixation in their memories.Individual foreign activities are significantly complemented by special software for teaching foreign languages to pre-schoolers which develops different areas through playful activities.

Silent Period

It is important to understand that the child will not automatically start speaking English as soon as it enters kindergarten. Just remember how long it took when the kid started to speak in its mother tongue… and because of this, we have to keep in mind the so called „silent period“ when the child learns a foreign language, too. Children can understand more than they can say. When they learn their mother tongue, they react to this language much earlier before they start to talk. It is similar with the new language. At the beginning they just listen, internalize it and form their own personal grammar that adapts and extends the more they are in contact with a new language. Due to this, we do not push children to speak before they are ready,(until they start speaking). Spontaneously, we verify their understanding by nonverbal reactions (Bring me a blue ball., Give me the plane., Show me the bear in the picture., and so on.). After some time, when they are ready, they will start to say words and combine them.

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