English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Language learning is at the heart of everything we do in our Primary Years Programme. We believe that language learning and teaching is very complex, and is a unique process which focuses on the interaction of learning language, learning through language, and learning about language. Students in our PYP face the unique challenge of developing two, three, or sometimes even more languages at one. While this is a huge benefit for the child, it can sometimes make for a challenging transition when beginning academic lessons in English.
To support students, we offer an English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme in our PYP4-8, which aims to meet students where they are in their language development, and to provide targeted instruction to help them acquire English language skills. We start with the basics, language for survival, and students are supported as they learn how to ask for help, find their way around the school, and acquire the language to being able to introduce themselves and play with their friends. As language development progresses, students are taught reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar skills to support their overall linguistic and academic development. In the beginning of the programme, these lessons are provided in a small group, but as the language acquisition process progresses, the aim is for students to be able to fully integrate into their class lessons. Sometimes the EAL teacher or other support teachers will join in lessons to support within the regular classroom, as well. The programme is flexible and aims to support students where they are.
In our Early Years Programme (PYP1-3), EAL support is constantly modelled by class teachers and ASA staff. Students are exposed to creative, stimulating and fun learning environments, and a social-emotional environment where they feel safe and secure. With these foundational pieces in place, this allows students the ability to make meaning of the language they are exposed to, and to begin taking steps in the process of language acquisition.