Language is the most powerful tool in the development of any human being. It is the greatest asset we possess. A good gasp of language is synonymous with a sound ability to think. In other words language and thought are inseparable.’ — Vygotsky 1986
The Australian population is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse in the world with the 2015 AEDC survey showing that 21.5% of all children speak languages other than English at home. Many of these children have strong language skills in their first language and the EYLF recognises the importance of children maintaining their home language while becoming confident and competent in English.
There is much that can be done to support children who are learning English as an additional language in early years settings. This book bridges theory and practice by giving an overview of the theories of language acquisition alongside practical ideas on how best to support EAL learners. There is a strong focus on the characteristics of effective early years pedagogy and practice in the way educators support children’s learning and development of English proficiency through observation, assessment and planning, and the learning environment.
This book is intended to be practical, provide relevant background and understanding, and promote reflective practice. All chapters contain key messages, and some chapters provide self-evaluation activities to support educators to reflect on their practice.