All children new to the school are provided with a buddy. If the child speaks little or no English the buddy is when possible a child who speaks the new child’s mother tongue.
If the child needs survival English, this is provided in the first few weeks. Children who need to go through a silent period in the classroom have the opportunity to do so. At the British School Warsaw, a child who is new to English will acquire the necessary survival English within the first two months.
Whilst the child is acquiring this survival English, the EAL specialist will also be working on the understanding of the language necessary to access the curriculum topics being covered in class.
Language Learning and the Curriculum
The main focus of the EAL support programme is on helping the child develop the language of the curriculum. The language is taught using the content of the mainstream curriculum. In this way children are learning English and learning through English at the same time.
All teachers are trained in working with EAL children. While the EAL child is gaining control of English, they will be supported in understanding the curriculum of the classroom non-verbally whilst hearing the language. In this way, they are able to access some of the curriculum whilst also learning the language of the curriculum.
Parents are encouraged to stay in regular contact with both the class teacher in Primary and the Form Tutor in Secondary as well as the EAL specialist as the children settle into their new school. This is especially important in the first few months.