Supporting EnglishLanguage Learners in theEarly Childhood Classroom
Session highlights…The preschool years represent a very critical period of development in young children, particularly in the area of emergent literacy. Children are expected to enter school with a very specific set of skills, much more advanced than of years gone by. With the increasing demands, English Language Learner (ELL) children are particularly at risk. Not only are they faced with learning these fundamental skills, they are learning to master a new language.In this session, we will explore:I The realities of working with young ELL’sT Children’s acquisition of languageC Best practice in working with young ELL’s
IcebreakerTurn to your neighbor and introduce yourself. Discuss your name. How did you get your name? What does it mean? Anything else interesting regarding your name?
What do you think?“I was leaving school and talking to my friend, talking in Spanish. They had told us that we couldn’t speak even a word of Spanish inside the school. And we were very careful, but on that day I just forgot. As we were leaving the building, there was the principal. She was a lovely teacher but really tough. She slapped me twice, really hard, and said, ‘You know you cannot speak Spanish in school,’ and she turned away and started leaving. I followed her and asked what I should do. She turned around and told me, ‘I never want to hear you speaking Spanish inside this school.’ I will never forget that.” (Murillo and Smith, 2011)
Core BeliefsStem from research and understanding the challenges of working with pre-school English language learners.
Check this out…Patricia Kuhl, Institute for Learning and Brain SciencesThe Linguistic Genius of Babies
Language Development• Children develop language similarly but at different rates• In-utero, babies are exposed to the sounds of the world around them• Infants are immersed in a world of language and non-verbal communication• As infants begin to comprehend, they are preparing the way for speech• First words help children obtain things and cause reactions in adults• Early speech is telegraphic• Toddlers and preschoolers are creative with their language use
Language AcquisitionLanguage is a puzzle. The pieces are essential and they interlock. The pieces are: 1. Phonology: how the units of sounds (phonemes) are put together to form words 2. Morphology: rules for how meaningful units of language are put together to form syllables and the words of language 3. Syntax: rules for how words are put together to form sentences 4. Semantics: meaning of words and phrases 5. Pragmatics: system of rules and conventions for using spoken language appropriate within different social contexts
Mastery of a 2nd LanguageExternal:• Access to speakers of that language• Frequency of coming into contact with those speakers• The degree to which that language is relevant• Messages and pressure in school and society regarding the mastery of the 2nd languageInternal:• Child’s cognitive abilities• Need to learn a 2nd language• Talent in learning language• Temperament and social skills
2nd Language Acquisition• Simultaneous : Child develops two languages equally or near equally through consistent exposure to and opportunities to use both.• Successive: Child learns a 2nd language after their 1st language has been establishedReceptive Bilingualism: Child has limited opportunities to speak one of the languages and as a result, understands but is limited in expression of that language
2nd Language AcquisitionMilestones…2. There may be periods of time when the child continues to use their home language in the second language situations.3. When they discover the home language doesn’t work in this situation, they enter a nonverbal period (possibly use non-verbal communication)as they collect information about the new language and perhaps spend time in sound experimentation.4. Children begin to go public, using individual words and phrases in the new language.5. Children begin to develop productive use of the second language.
Supportive PracticesCommunication• Double your message – gestures, non-verbal with words• Use repetition• Talk about the concrete• Expand and extendClassroom Environment• Predictable routines• Careful selection of small groups• Create a safe haven
Supportive PracticesCurriculum Support• Activity selection• Book reading• Snack and lunch• Outside time• Circle time
Contact Information…Emily Wolfe, Professional Development SpecialistTuscarora Intermediate Unit, Family Literacy Consultation ProjectEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgCell: 814.280.5287