Teaching 1 to 2 Year olds English

January 29, 2008 at 6:17 am | Posted in Children's Classes | 7 Comments
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This is a reply I put on the MES English forums to someone asking about teaching 1-2 year olds:

I have a few students under two, and a few months ago I started teaching at a school where I have a 20 minute class with 1-2 year olds. At first I was wondering what I would do, but its going pretty well. In this case, the preschool teachers are there to help me. In your case, I imagine the parents will be there to help.

The way I structure my class, is much like you said you are structuring your class for your over 3 year olds students. I use a lot of songs, maybe 4 or 5 each class. Before each song there is a little lesson. If it is a numbers song, we count 1 to 10, count some objects, etc. If it is an animal song, I use puppets to introduce the animals and the sounds they make, then we sing. Also, little games like London Bridge is falling down, etc. are fun for this age (if they can walk yet, a few of my youngest cant Smile

Also, they love books! So between the songs, mini lessons and books, it keeps it pretty flowing and structured.

I guess for me I try to keep it relevant to what kids understand at that age, they all have seen a dog before. hope this helps. All the songs I use I have on my site if you want to check it out. some are free downloads. http://www.dreamenglish.com


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  1. Hi, I’m an english teacher of very small children preschoolders starting from 17 months old in some cases. I’ve been working on an english system for about 5 years now and with some very good results, I call it the phase developmental approach for esl in very young children. It consist in taking into account the capacities of each age: emotional, cognitive and social stages of each age and designing the class around this. It’s worked pretty good. If you’d like to exchange info I’d love to.


    • Hello Terry,

      I just started working as an English “teacher” in a bilingual pre-school in Germany. I have very little experience teaching English, and on op of that my kids are very young (aged 1-3). Do you have a website up yet that talks about your approach, or do you have any advice about entertaining English activities for this age group? I’m arts and crafts inclined, but it’s hard to incorporate English into an activity that can hold their attention for very long. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  2. HI Terry,

    Thanks for your comment. I’d be interested in hearing more about your approach. Feel free to email me at matt(at)dreamenglish.com, change the (at) to an @ sing. Thanks, Matt

    • I would love it if you could visit my website I just set it up and I´d like to know what you think about it.

  3. when I started out as a teacher I found that most of the materials on the market for small kids where and still are pretty inappropiate and just not focussed on their capabilities, so I started designing my own materials and ended up writing an english course series for toddlers to 4th graders (in fourth grade there is this mental change and their understanding for grammar kicks in and materials on the market are okay)the primary focus is vocabulary but in context, to work around a theme and from there model structures but they are not the main issue in the classroom. Anyway I’m also designing my website as soon as its done I’ll let you know

  4. Thank you for your comments and ideas. I look forward to seeing your website when it is done.

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