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English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development

Discover how very young children learn English as an additional language and how you can help them progress.

214,997 enrolled on this course

English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development
  • Duration6 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours
  • CertificatesAvailable

How do very young children best learn English as an additional language while they’re still learning their mother tongue? How and why do children learn best through play? What can parents and practitioners do to enable children to get the most out of a learning experience?

This free online course for parents and practitioners will explore how young children learn English and investigate many more aspects of early childhood learning and development.

Create the best environment for young children to learn English

British Council educators will share their insights and experiences, so that you can learn how to best talk to young children; how to create the best environment for them to learn English as an additional language; and how to monitor their progress most effectively.

Through articles, videos and live events you will hear from early childhood experts and parents, and see for yourself how young children learn inside the early years classroom. At every stage, you will be offered tips, advice and downloadable resources.

You will join discussions about child development and early childhood English language learning, so that you have the opportunity to interact live with our experienced educators. Here you will also be able to share your opinions, ideas and questions with other participants.

Draw on the British Council’s English teaching expertise

This free online course draws on the British Council’s expertise in teaching English to learners of all ages including very young children. It also benefits from our experience of creating Learning Time with Shaun & Timmy learning centres, where children aged two to six learn English through play, and a series of educational apps.

What topics will you cover?

How children learn
- Early childhood development
- Children and language acquisition

Learning through play
- The importance of play
- Creating the right environment for play
- Developing language through play

How to talk to young children
- Encouraging emotional development
- Developing language through interactions

Learning: English and everything
- Developing the whole child
- Learning English in context
- Guiding the learning experience

Positive relationships and enabling environments
- Helping children feel safe and happy
- The importance of knowing the child well

Watching children learn
- Every child is unique
- Observation
- Assessment in the early years
- Planning: building on what children can do

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate how children learn and how they acquire language.
  • Discuss the importance of play and look at language development opportunities.
  • Reflect on ways to communicate effectively with young children.
  • Explore meaningful learning and developing language in context.
  • Demonstrate the connection between learning and a child’s well-being.
  • Identify ways to support and challenge children, and measure their progress.

Who is the course for?

This course will be of interest to you if you are: a parent of young children who wishes to support their child learning an additional language; an English teacher or an early childhood practitioner; or someone who is interested in the area of child development and language acquisition.

If English is not your first language please be reassured that this course is suitable for those who have learnt English to around intermediate level (approximately B1 on the CEFR).

The principles of learning an additional language during early childhood apply to all languages, so if you are a parent, teacher or practitioner interested in teaching languages other than English, you will find plenty of relevant methods in the course.

What do people say about this course?

I want to thank the British Council for giving me the opportunity to learn about how children learn English in early childhood. I learned about how children learn, about learning through play, about how to talk to young children and about watching children learn. Now I feel more confident about child development and language learning thanks to this course and I will certainly apply what I learned here in the future because I hope to become an early childhood practitioner.

Anna Arrisico

I definitely feel more confident about child development and how it really works, teaching English to very young children. I'm now more confident about how to explain the learning process to parents. It's important to share this knowledge with the parents so they can support their children in the best way.

Teodora Kobor

Who will you learn with?

More than 20 years experience working with early years children and young learners in kindergartens, schools and teaching centres. I never stop learning, growing and changing.

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council is on the ground in six continents and over 100 countries connecting the best of UK culture with a global audience and providing high-quality English language courses.

Learning Time with Timmy - British Council

The British Council presents an innovative approach to learning English for 2-6 year olds in partnership with animators Aardman.

Learner reviews

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript


Statement of Participation