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I have often observed children from multicultural backgrounds being brought by their parents to introduce them to an early childhood centre. A few of the children aren't native English speakers and often find it challenging to settle in to their new environment.

 

I still remember how I felt during a TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) course many years ago when I was a student. The class teacher walked in speaking Gaelic and appeared to not comprehend what we were saying when we replied in English. That was her introduction and after a while she told us to reflect on that exercise.

In an ECE setting, language is often not a barrier as gestures by teachers and support by other children from a similar background help them to feel comfortable in their new environment. Play is their essential learning tool through which they socially interact with other children, as well as listen to the language being spoken around them. This gives them the time and confidence to develop their oral language as English speakers and acquire a sense of belonging in their new setting.

As teachers we should be aware of these situations and I have delved on a few points that I try to implement at my work place.