09 October 2023

Little bilinguals

How do we help children become fluent in English?
In today's world, having a good grasp of English has become commonplace, and many parents are looking for effective methods to teach their children this language. We want to share how children in our kindergarten learn English, how “realistic” hands-on activities help them master spoken language, and how songs and games make the whole experience enjoyable.

What's OPOL?
The OPOL method (One Parent One Language) is a widely used teaching strategy in bilingual families and educational institutions. According to this method, one parent or educator communicates with the child exclusively in English. At Montessori Hub, we have an English-speaking educator in each class who helps children immerse themselves in the language in a natural environment, facilitating its development alongside their native language through communication. In addition to this, there are regular daily lessons during which the children actively practice grammar and expand their vocabulary.

Realistic hands-on activities
At Montessori Hub, children learn English through hands-on activities across all areas of study in the Montessori curriculum. What does it mean? An English-speaking educator teaches students mathematics, geography, biology, creativity, and other subjects, all in English! This approach enriches children's vocabulary in a wide range of fields. They start conversing using genuine spoken language rather than memorized phrases from a textbook. Moreover, by working with tangible, physical materials, they quite literally “soak up” the language through their hands.

Traditions and Cultures
Children become familiar with the customs and history of English-speaking countries through creative projects, which makes the language learning experience more practical and engaging. For instance, when we get ready for Thanksgiving, we explore the symbolism behind this holiday, create decorations, practice gratitude, sing themed songs, and craft gifts for family and friends. Immersing ourselves in holidays like these is our main secret to making learning a language fun for our little ones :)

Songs and Games
Learning English through songs and games is absolutely possible! It's a fantastic way to make language learning fun and engaging for younger kids. English songs help children improve their pronunciation and accent, while vibrant and unique games capture their interest much more than traditional textbooks and written materials. Furthermore, songs and games provide little ones with context for the words and concepts they're learning.

Interactive Materials
We go beyond standard reading and writing and make extensive use of sandpaper letters, movable alphabet and other tactile Montessori materials. They allow children to “feel” new vocabulary, making it much more memorable. When kids observe how these new words are used in a playful setting and connected to specific actions, they grasp this knowledge more effortlessly and apply it in their everyday lives.
That's how the bilingual language environment works, allowing children at Montessori Hub to joyfully sing and joke with each other in English, as well as read books in English whenever they have free time!