1. Engage and encourage them with conversation.
Young children tend to imitate behaviours they observe in adults so it is important that you model courtesy, respect and good listening skills in your own interactions.When speaking to a child, try to stoop down to their level so they feel valued and that you are communicating to them in “their world”.
2. Use props like toys or music to help them learn new words and structure sentences.
Songs help children to practise the rhythm, intonation and pronunciation of the language in a fun and engaging way. As songs repeat sentences and phrases, they also help reinforce sentence structure. Using songs with actions makes language learning fun. For pre-school children, songs with actions also help them develop their gross motor skills.
When storytelling with young children, using props such as puppets stimulates their imagination and encourages creativity.
3. Listen, and be patient.
It is important to remember that young children do not process and communicate their ideas as quickly as adults so it may take them time to express their thoughts. Be patient and encourage them to express their ideas as it shows you are interested in what they have to say.
4. Read to them every day.
It is important that reading is presented as a fun and enjoyable activity rather than ‘study’ so children remain engaged and interested in in reading. Use age appropriate material so the books they are reading aren’t too easy or too difficult for their reading ability.
5. Enrol them in classes.
Enrolling your child into an English enrichment programme can be good for social development, for example, learning how to relate to children, turn-taking and confidence building. Choosing an enrichment programme that has academic content is valuable for Primary 1 readiness.