Teachers' Questions: Teaching 2 or 3 Year Olds

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Q: I really love the site and it gave me lots of idea in teaching English to children! I'm wondering if you can give me some ideas on how to teach children who are 2-3 years old, and have no English background at all. What is the first thing I should teach them?  Could you please create a corner in your website on how to teach English to 2-3 year-old children? - Becky, Japan

Teaching 2-3 year olds is one of the hot topics in Japan at the moment, mainly because there aren't any good materials out there to teach with! The best thing to do is to just play with the kids, do like a parent back home would with a 2 or 3 year old, but structure your lessons to include lots of repetition of the English. Basic things to think about would be manners like "please and thank you?", simple colours, actions and motions, reading story books or themes like getting dressed or having a bath ( not really, just pretend!), things that the kids do everyday. Keep it really simple.

If you can, try and hang out with some friends who have babies and see how they interact with their kids. Then with the students you are studying just watch them play normally for a while, and find out what toys, games and activities they like. Then use those in your "lessons". Practical things like child proofing the classroom should be given some thought as well!

You could try some English teaching type games, but usually just general playing is best. Similarly songs can be useful, but don't expect the kids to sing along, just listen and do actions or gestures.

Ask your parents what they used to do with you at that age might help as well!

If you have a question then please send it in! Or if you have any comments or additions to the above messages, then please send those in as well!

Or for more questions, have a look at the main Teachers' Questions Page.

Be genki,


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