Weekly study2 hours
English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development
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.
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
- Assessment in the early years
- Planning: building on what children can do
Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
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.
Who developed the course?
The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.
We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million people overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.
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