English all day long

In our language kindergarten we teach English using the immersion method. Immersion is the most natural method of English learning. What is important about this method is that a child accustoms its ear to vocabulary, expressions and full sentences in a foreign language which correspond to specific situations. This process is very similar to the mother tongue acquisition. Teacher’s statements are supported by his/her gestures, speech and tone of voice, which facilitates child’s comprehension and enables it to adequately react or respond orally.

For the first time this teaching method was researched in the 1960s in Canada.

The emphasis was placed then on eliminating the notion of “language classes” and focusing instead on using the language in everyday situations. This method proved to be very efficient and nowadays it is used almost all over the world.

Immersion method ensures that

– a learner acquires more profound knowledge of the language when compared with traditional learning methods. At our kindergarten we do not simplify speech addressed to children. We communicate in a manner corresponding to a given situation and support the spoken language with the body language to facilitate comprehension.

– a learner is exposed to the language on a continuous basis. The English teacher communicates with children only in English. As a result, children learn several useful everyday expressions on a daily basis.

– a learner learns the language in a natural way. Accustomed to English on a daily basis, with time children start perceiving it as a quite natural language of communication. It would not be so, if children were exposed to English only at specific times of the day.

– a learner learns through play. Pre-school children learn mainly through play. Time spent at Żyrafa kindergarten is an ongoing joy and freedom of discovering the surrounding world.

– a learner learns subconsciously. Joint singing during walks, brushing the teeth or group play, listening to fairy tales in English supported by looking at and describing illustrations – all this allows for learning the language by way of getting your ear accustomed to it rather than by acquiring knowledge within a specified time frame of language classes.

– a learner is eager to communicate with his peers and adults. As a result of listening to words and expressions used in everyday situations which are repeated over and over again, our children start using this vocabulary when communicating with their friends in the group. Moreover, the children can profit a lot from communicating with their English speaking peers attending our kindergarten who speak only their mother tongue.

How do we learn English at our kindergarten?

DRAMA: it combines language learning with physical activity and promotes the provision of correct feedback to communication input. Drama is one of many methods of learning through play and it is extremely efficient.

EXTENSIVE READING: it is a highly effective method of learning foreign languages by listening and observing. Our kindergarten has got a rich collection of English books for little children. As we “immerse” our children in English, reading is an inherent element of our daily routine.

LEARNING TO GENERATE FEEDBACK: in the course of getting accustomed to the basic language structures, it is important to encourage a child to give simple responses as well. Our kindergarten teachers constantly make sure that our children are neither forced nor under pressure to generate feedback. Instead, children find feedback a natural element of a dialogue.

USE OF AUDIOVISUAL RESOURCES: Children learn not only visually, but it is actually easier for them to remember what they have learned by watching interesting films, fairy tales or flashcards displayed on the computer.