Supporting multilingual children in the Early Years
Young 3-5 year old children who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) and their language learning needs are sometimes overlooked in educational texts, as well as in schools and settings, because it is assumed that young children will ‘pick up’ English naturally and very quickly. These materials provide an introduction for teachers and teacher educators to the needs of young bilingual children in the early years and present an overview of the complexities involved, examines play as a vehicle for learning in general and especially for learning a new language, and highlights the critical role of monolingual and bilingual practitioners. The terms ‘bilingual’ and ‘multilingual’ children are used throughout to refer to those children who in their daily lives operate in more than one language; the term does not suggest equal competence or fluency in these languages.
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