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Resources, case studies and further reading to help you get started with languages in the early years.
European Commission, European Commission (Last updated: 16 January 2013; Last viewed: 26 February 2013)
Good practice guidelines from the European Commission.
Teresa Tinsley, Therese Comfort, CfBT (2012)
An evidence base on language learning within various primary curricula across the world. Part 1 of the report reviews international research and development in early language learning, presenting evidence on the benefits of starting foreign language learning in primary school or earlier. Part 2 focuses on the issues and challenges common to all education systems that need to be addressed if primary language teaching is to be a success.
Key points include:
Research evidence on early language learning
Scottish Government, Scottish Government (2011)
Key messages on languages:
ELLiE, European Commission (January 2011)
ELLiE is a study of the introduction of second language learning in primary school classrooms in seven European countries. The study was set up in response to the rapid expansion of early language learning in Europe. The study aims to clarify what can realistically be achieved in European classrooms where limited amounts of curriculum time are allocated to second language learning. Included in the study are schools from Croatia, England, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
Factors contributing to children's success in learning languages include:
The teacher‘s role is highly significant for young children, including:
Goethe Institut, Goethe Institut (Revised edition: 2010)
Revision of the Nuremberg Recommendations for Early Foreign Language Learning which presents a contemporary perspective on the intricate web of factors involved in early foreign language learning, with the aim of showing both potential and needs of a four to ten-year-old child during learning. This publication is addressed to all who work in the field of early foreign language teaching, decision-makers, school head teachers, those working in continuing professional development and extended education, serving and trainee teachers and early years practitioners, as well as students. Its intended readership also includes parents and other actors within the various contexts in which children grow up.
SCILT has extracted the key recommendations from this report.
European Commission, European Commission (2009)
An overview of early language learning in Europe and answers some of the questions most frequently asked on language learning in the early years. Scroll halfway down the page to access these.
Springburn Nursery - Springburn Nursery in Glasgow has established a partnership with the Goethe-Institut . During an initial 4 month period, a tutor from the Goethe-Institut visited the school once a fortnight to work with the children and provide professional development to staff. In between tutor visits, nursery staff led German learning experiences with the children. Staff also had access to a virtual learning platform supported by the Goethe-Institut. Find out more about the ‘German in the Nursery School’ project.
Westercraigs Nursery - Westercraigs Nursery in Glasgow celebrates the range of languages spoken by the children at home as well as promoting the importance and value of learning languages through the learning and teaching of French, Italian and Gaelic. Find out more about how the nursery is preparing for the 1+2 approach.
Modern Languages are within the Languages area of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and Experiences and Outcomes for Modern Languages begin at First Level. However, Early Years practitioners might find the following documents useful in providing a context to their work. In addition, they may find it useful to visit the Primary pages of our website for a full picture.
You can also download SCILT's Experiences and Outcomes foldout leaflet for Modern Languages (2015).
Essential reading for Modern Language practitioners can be found on the Curriculum for Excellence - Modern Languages pages from Education Scotland.
Further information on the Languages area of the curriculum can be found on Curriculum for Excellence - Languages.
Early Years practitioners might find the following documents useful in providing a context to their work. In addition, they may find it useful to visit the Primary pages of our website for a full picture.
Education Scotland, Education Scotland (March 2015)
These First Level Experiences and Outcomes will allow practitioners delivering languages as part of the Scottish Government 1+2 policy to benchmark learners’ progress in the skills of listening and talking, reading and writing.
Education Scotland have published a PowerPoint to support the reflection on and engagement with the newly updated Experiences and Outcomes, which can also be accessed through the link below.
Education Scotland, Education Scotland (December 2013)
This online guidance features a zip file at the bottom of the landing page which includes a document outlining first steps to embedding additional language learning in the curriculum. Though badged for P1, this guidance is suitable for any teacher who is embarking on teaching a language for the first time or any class starting to learn a language for the first time, regardless of stage.
The videos from this resources can be viewed on YouTube.
Planning and Guidance for languages in Early YearsFor the National Languages Conference in November 2013 Education Scotland and SCILT provided an overview of the support available for Modern Languages in Primary Schools. Visit our 2013 conference pages to view their presentation.
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At the University of Strathclyde, SCILT have a number of partnerships with key organisations in Scotland, UK and further afield.
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