Latest news and updates for our Kuala Lumpur Young Learner parents - August 2015

Holiday courses

We’re pleased to announce that our exciting holiday courses and workshops have just been announced. Based around the theme of ‘Around the World’, children will be inspired to explore their world through a variety of fun and motivating activities.

Reminder about collecting children

Please remember that children under 11 must be collected by an adult or a sibling who is over 14 at the end of class. Children under 11 cannot be collected by a person under 14 years old. Please ensure that you are on time for collecting your child at the end of his or her class. We have increasing numbers of parents who are late to collect their children and the teachers and teaching assistants are becoming overwhelmed with the numbers waiting for parents.

Parent workshops

The final parent workshop of the term will run on 22nd and 23rd August and will focus on speaking English more accurately when English is spoken at home regularly.

This will provide advice to parents who use English at home to help their children become more focused on the differences between local English and international English and to understand some of the issues that their children might encounter when switching between the two Englishes.

How to introduce speaking English at home in families that do not use English regularly

Our last parent workshop was for parents who do not use English at home with their children and gave some advice on how to introduce children to using more English at home.

Introducing English at home can be quite difficult when children are used to using another language at home. But it’s good to establish a routine of using English at least a few times a week at home to help children become more used to the language and more familiar with its sounds. It doesn’t matter if you feel your English isn’t very good. At the very least you will be able to help your child feel more confident even if they make errors.

It’s also important to remember that children will often naturally have a ‘silent period’ when they are introduced to a new language, so they may not speak English when you first set up the routine. That’s ok. It is important to allow them to feel there is a back-up if they don’t know how to say something in English to help them avoid becoming too stressed. Having an area or object that your child to go to if they need to use another language other than English can discourage them from freely using their usual home language, while also supporting them if they need it. For example, you might have a special mat that they need to stand on if they want to speak to you in their home language, or pick up a flag or a toy that has been designated as the ‘other language toy’. But remember that just because they speak to you in another language, it doesn’t mean that you should stop using English! Reply to their questions in English to encourage them to use English next time!

Some children might be resistant to using English at home. Having a motivational tool like a special badge or hat for ‘English time’ can make it more fun and make the child feel more special. If you have a routine, such as going to the park or going to the pool a few times a week, you could make ‘park time’ part of ‘English time’ and only use English while you are there. Start off with shorter periods of time and work up to longer periods.

Best tips for helping your child with their homework

  • Build routines and set goals together.
  • Be encouraging. Homework helps your child review and helps the teacher identify what your child has learned. It’s okay if they don’t get it all correct, or if they can’t do it all.
  • Let the teacher see their mistakes.
  • Help them to self-correct. If you see a mistake, ask your child questions for example – are you sure this is correct? Is that word missing something

And if you’re really not confident with English, you could ask your child to be your teacher! Children love being teachers and can have a lot of fun playing teacher with family.

 And finally, did you know that...

  • English is the third most commonly spoken language in the world after Mandarin and Spanish.
  • Most English spelling and grammar rules follow the rules set out in Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, which was published in 1755.
  • One new word is added to the English language approximately every two hours!

Last but not least, remember that when your child speaks any language, their focus will be on the message rather than the grammar. It’s important that as a parent you encourage communication before accuracy, correcting any mistakes after you have responded to what they have said.