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CM Club - bilingual support

(7 Posts)
ayla99 Tue 09-Jun-09 13:37:28

I have supported bilingual children by:

buying bilingual books (now have over 20 and 3 dvds) to share with children. Admittedly I can't read every child's home language, but I can and do read aloud in the languages I learned at school.
using Ebay to find resources like jigsaws and games in their home languages
using internet to find lyrics and singing songs in their home language
writing words and letters from their home language & alphabet when we've played with aquapens etc
learning a few words from every child's home language and using in everyday conversation.
encouraging parents to bring in resources from home to share

Got my report today and Ofsted said "children learning English as an additional language have fewer opportunities to develop and use their home language in their play and learning". Was expecting a more positive comment sad

frAKKINPannikin Tue 09-Jun-09 13:42:45

Sounds to me like you're doing a fantastic job and really trying!

Is it possible to provide interaction with other speakers of the children's home languages?

How many multilingual children are you supporting? What languages? And do you have children with common languages that you could encourage to speak together?

I agree it's not a very encouraging comment. Maybe you could get clarification about what you can do to improve.

ayla99 Tue 09-Jun-09 14:15:43

Thank you! Currently have only one bilingual mindee and her parent is the only person I know who speaks that language. But have supported several children and now have resources in french, german, spanish, lithuanian, czech, russian. But whenever I've had more than one bilingual child at a time, they've spoken different languages and no other contacts with that language to get together with.

The Inspector's suggestion was to put multilingual labels and pictures (for non-readers) on all the toy boxes. I told her I've done that before - ended up with boxes with the wrong names on after reorganisation so I don't write on the boxes any more. Sticky labels don't withstand washing but are hard to remove completely. Thought about velcroed laminated labels but suspect I'll have to remake them every week as the children will take them off, swap them about and hide them in toys. Anyway, my boxes are all transparent, seems a bit pointless to cover them up with a picture label of whats in it!

Am going to make some photo books of our activities/resources for the children, can put multi-lingual words and phrases in those. The parents can't think of anything else I can do except learn the language fully (and they made great pains to tell me they certainly weren't asking me to do that - they're quite happy with what I'm already doing)

frAKKINPannikin Tue 09-Jun-09 14:25:40

Oh my goodness you've done loads already. Agree the labels thing is slightly impractical but maybe it could be adapted to make multilingual flashcards of the toys. That way children can communicate pictorially, in their home language and in English.

I would't worry what the pesky inspector says; as long as the parents are happy that's the main thing and I'm sure they'll put that in any reference. You clearly have loads of experience supporting multilingualism and that's what will count with parents. If you're doing things the way your current mindees parents want then you're doing them right.

I've worked with families who actively don't want their child speaking their mother tongue with me - OFSTED would have a fit!

looneytune Tue 09-Jun-09 14:40:56

That's awful!! Was this said because you do have a child who speaks more than one language? If so, this sort of comment is surely likely to make childminders not want bilingual mindees? We're not to discriminate and all that but I can see why some would be put off if this is the sort of thing an inspector would say!!! angry

Can't you contact them and say you think that comment is unfair? I know I would if I were you! At least give it a try. I know others on here who have appealed things.

HSMM Tue 09-Jun-09 19:55:40

I look after 3 bilingual children. Their parents are very specific about the fact that they speak their home language at home and only english with me, so they do not get confused between the two.

holdingittogether Tue 09-Jun-09 20:16:54

I look after a child where 2 other languages are spoken at home. Mother and father are from different countries, so english is a third language. The parents have made it very clear to me that they want me to only use english with her because at the moment at age 2 I am her main english speaking influence. They have given me a list of some words she uses to help me understand what she may be asking for etc which is useful. Ofsted commented that I should make more of her home languages but when the parents read my report they again told me they want me to keep everything purely english. By the time my next inspection is due this child will have started school and probably not with me anymore so i am not stressing about what ofsted think tbh. I am doing what the parents want me to do. For a 2 year old to be learning 3 languages at once I think this child is doing bloody marvellous!

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