EAL Teaching and Learning Best Practice - Advice for Early Years Foundation Stage Settings

EMAS 559308964

Coventry EMAS has developed an excellent relationship with private and voluntary settings as well as EYFS provision in primary schools. We deliver bespoke and centrally based training and provide MLA support. If a setting requests additional support we can provide a home language and English Proficiency assessment for EYFS children from a trained teacher.

Key advice points

Settling In

  • Gather information on school entry in regards to the language background and family context of the pupil.
  • Assess pupils’ English language proficiency to establish a baseline for their language development.
  • Use Multilingual assistants (MLAs) to help pupils understand the environment and setting routines.
  • Visual support is vital – make everything visual, especially by using photographs that provide an immediate and ‘real’ context. Take photos of  routines – lining up, putting coats on, eating fruit at break time etc. and these can then become reassuring flashcards to show the children when they first start. They will help parents too.
  • Support pupils with settling in by encouraging the use of home language as they develop bilingual skills.

Creating a welcoming and multicultural environment

  • Build on pupils’ literary experiences by reading stories and rhymes from around the world as well as texts that reflect a variety of ethnicities.
  • Ensure the environment is welcoming with multicultural resources, signage and displays that reflect the languages and culture of the local community.
  • Cultural differences: be aware that pupils share similar, early years experiences to their peers but will also have very different experiences too. They may never have experienced nursery schooling and have no idea about the expectations of the EYFS setting. This will include their parents too.

Creating a ‘Talking’ Classroom

  • The EYFS curriculum is language friendly but children will need opportunities to practice and consolidate language, not just learn new vocabulary. Repetition is important.
  • Staff need to model language, explaining activities as they do them so that children can hear English used clearly.
  • Language is best learned through activity and engagement, so plenty of creative games and activities are helpful, especially if language structures are repeated and then built upon.

Valuing Home School Relationships

  • Involve parents in decision making and encourage them to engage and communicate with school, making use of MLA support or bilingual staff to translate where appropriate.
  • Communicate with parents in English through a variety of channels (spoken and/or written English) and establish the best method for each family regarding their English proficiency and literacy skills.
  • Make written materials translation-tool friendly so that it is possible for families to use translation aids such as Google Translate.
  • Invite parents in to help share their cultural knowledge – could they tell a story in home language, cook something traditional, or share their knowledge of different subjects?

EMAS general enquiries

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5491

EMAS - teacher enquiries

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5491