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How can i teach to small children between 1 and 3 years old? 
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 10:22 am
Posts: 1
Post How can i teach to small children between 1 and 3 years old?
Hi everybody, need help on how must i teach english to children so small between 1 and 3 years old?..i´m just begining and need some help because i don´t know how to do.
Thanks for your help

Sun May 07, 2006 10:40 am
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Mark..I´m teaching in a school in Venezuela, one day a week, and I have 4 groups of children I mean is like this:

half an hour for children between 1 and 2
half an hour for children between 2 and 3
1 hour for children between 3 and 4
1 hour for children between 4 and 5

Luisa - That's not a lot of time for building. I think you shouldn't really worry about trying to 'teach' the students, but interact with them. Also, you need to keep segments very short (5-7 minutes.)

Some ideas are:
- exercising: they do what you say together. You can run around, jump over things, jump on things, go get things...
- reading (1-3 very short picture books)
- singing: these should be action songs
- making crafts (even if it's just you the teacher making the item)
- building something to be destroyed (then build again and repeat)
- puppets (have the puppets fight from time to time)

I also like to keep the room as simple as possible. That way the only things that are intersting in the room are the things I bring with me. Sometimes those little guys wonder off, but as long as the room is boring, they'll be drawn back in. Don't worry if one or two wonder off, they're still listening. You just need to stay focused and try to keep the rest of the group focused.

The older kids (4-5) can start to do more complex activities and games: concentration, bingo, go fish, slap and so on. Also the segments can be lengthened for these students as well to 10-15 minutes.

You might also want to start some alphabet/phonics activities with as well. The kids really like the alphabet for some reason. :? Even just playing with the alphabet and learning some words that start with the letters would be fun. You don't need to start writing at these ages (in my opinion.)

If you have some questions or want to me to explain a few of those ideas in more detail please let me know.

- Mark

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Sun May 07, 2006 10:30 pm
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
yeh for the real young ones you won't get much English back for a while
esp 1-3 years old! its all input

so anything is ok, esp songs, play with toys eg food, drinks
also try to match colors and numbers of things while talking to them

balloons are good for counting, try to keep it off the ground (try to have fun)

I put up big numbers Flash cards around the room and using a big dice I throw it and we all have to walk, run, skip, hop etc to the number
I suggest try to teach them with flash cards before starting (ie have an order)
you can walk slowly, walk fast etc

its not easy, as I said, its all one way at that age ... but its so cool when they start to talk!

Last edited by Kiwione on Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:27 pm

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:14 am
Posts: 75
Location: Nago, Okinawa, Japan
I teach kids as young as four years old. I do not teach them any target phrases but rather songs and games. Many do not have the basic skills to speak in thier native language so I just make sure that a lot of repetition is in each lesson. I basically use many games and puzzles.
I sing many songs, they seem to like songs with some sort of line dance or action. I also inform the parents of what I taught to re-enforce the English.


Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:13 pm

Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 12:21 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Alberta, Canada
going with the crafts idea... there are tons of craft ideas(and other things)at

I never did crafts for the 1-3 but have for 4 and up.

Most of the younger kids want to move around, so give them songs to dance to :)
There is an ABC Body Song... my kindergarten classes loved it. Just sing the Alphabet while acting out the letters, I usually skip movements for d, g, l, n and just sing those letters instead. With Q, make a circle above your head with your hands, tilt you head to the side and stick your tongue out, kids love it.

If you have access to the Wee Sing Cd Series there are good songs on there for kids :)

Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:53 pm

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 3:59 pm
Posts: 42
I think that activities and songs, as suggested by others, are received well by young children. Songs that I've used are "The Itsy-bitsy Spider" and "Where is Thumbkin?" or "Ring Around the Rosy". These are fun, especially with the hand movements involved. Even "I'm a Little Tea Pot" might be nice.
Also, TPR movements to "play" through routines -- a day's cycle:
Pretend the sleep (eyes closed, head down, etc.)-- say the word.
Wake up (stretch)
Brush your teeth
Comb your hair
Wash your face
Eat breakfast.
Go to sleep.

Additionally, kids seem to like things they can hold. I colored words, then laminated them: "Orange" is colored orange, "Red" is colored red, etc. I'd pass out the colors, saying the word. Then ask "Who has orange?" etc.
I read about another activity I didn't try, but sounds great. A teacher found new tiles and write the alphabet letters on them. She'd lay the tiles on the ground, or even spells words, then she'd remove one letter tile and give it to a student. Then, the student would try to put the letter tile back facing the right way. This teacher said it was enough of a challenge for young ESL students to remember which way the letter "A" hieroglyphics, of sorts. :P
My best investment was a set of flashcards with pictures for each letter of the alphabet. I used the cards for the alphabet first (with 4-5 year olds), then would say the picture word, then later, use the pictures for students to identify colors. At first, the students didn't know many of the words, but doing this daily, it's amazing how fast kids can learn.
Lastly-- some vitamin supplements and lots of sleep help! Little ones are still learning to cover their mouths when they have a cold, so staying healthy helped me have the energy to keep up with them!

Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:12 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
you can read very low level story books to them too!

and talk to the kids just like a mother/father does while reading
(ie can you see the house? etc ... its a big house)
point out colours, animals etc

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:43 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:51 pm
Posts: 28
Hi there
I "taught" a class of very young children 2&3 years old in Korea three times a week. My classes consisted in the main of songs, picture books and colouring pictures. Even though they were young I tried to establish a routine so after a few months they when they recognised Id brought in my song book they would assume the position for miming "Row your boat".
I did a lot of phonic repitition with them - trying to help them make the sounds and become familiar with the sounds that are more peculiar to English.
I think a huge part of it is to keep it moving as they won't sit and concentrate on a book or exercise - do lots of TPR; I started every lesson with a routine that they came to know and tried to say along with me.

Good luck, it can be great fun!


Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:04 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
I remember I used to have a food and drink set and pretend to make food, cook, eat and drink, (ie talk to them)

(further to Morning Calm) other good songs are;
Are you Happy?
Heads and Shoulders
Here we go loop diloo
Whats your name? (Genki English)
Left and Right (Genki English)


Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:37 pm

Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:03 am
Posts: 3
Post TPR
Dr. James J. Asher developed an approach that suits exactly what you need: Total Physical Response. It was developed by having in mind how babies learn their first language. It basically sets that after enough modeling and repetition, students are able to RESPOND to commands and recognize vocabulary words of concrete objects.
Remember that it is overly challenging to expect some oral production from kids as young as 1-3, but you can expect their RESPONDING to commands such as: show me the...
I am not a native speaker, yet I wanted my own children to have the edge of a second language. I was first really frustrated with my oldest daughter, who wouldn't utter a single word in English, yet, when I realized that she understood every single word I said (and my peers at school as well), I felt my efforts weren't fruitless. She's 9 now and although she still doesn't really want to use English but in class, I know I've set her in the right track.

Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:20 am

Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:09 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Poland
Post teaching young learners
I am a Helen Doron teacher - if you know what I mean. If you don't know This is a method that teaches children from 1 to 14 years old. I spend time with such young learners almost every week. I saw that you get some responses for your question and I have a little to add. I recommend a lot of songs and rhymes and also a lot of pictures and realia. Such young learners love to use all their senses and especially touching everything. Each activities cannot last more than 5 up to 7 minutes. I hope I helped you a litte

Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:43 pm

Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:26 pm
Posts: 5
Post my experience
I taught some one-year olds in daycare--when they are that tiny, all the easiest thing to do is simply play with them and talk to them in the target language, the way you would talk to them in their own language---TPR is a great idea, as are songs that they can learn motions to, or stories with little text and lots of pictures. Obviously, when you can be 1 on 1 like I was, it's easier, but if you are consistent and use high frequency words and lots of visual and aural input, they will pick up on the spoken side of the language. One of the children, I took care of twice a week for a year, and after a year of that, at age two, she could understand simple commands (give me that, hold my hand, come here, etc), say hello and goodbye, do actions to familiar songs and ask please for things she wanted (like milk, blanket, toy, and kitten).
The most important things are to keep activities brief, and make it fun.

Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:46 am

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:21 am
Posts: 1
Post Teaching young learners 1-3 year old
Generally age group 1-3 year old we cannot expect much result from them. We should focus on input, when they are ready then will give us amazing output from what we have input to them. We could inject our input to them by using

- flashcards
- singing
- games
- puzzle
- story telling
- reading
- finger training
- eyes training

Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:41 am
Profile YIM

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:38 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Malaysia
Definitely reading, singing and crafts. It all inputs and they will absorb it like a sponge.

Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:18 pm

Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 33
Location: spain
Post Artigal method
have you ever heard about "Artigal method"? (for kids aged between 2 and 6) it consists of telling tales through miming several times until the child is able to repeat what the teacher is saying inside a context. Just look for some information on the web, just write "josep Artigal" and maybe you'll find any ideas that can help you. As far as I know he does not have any web page but try to write his name....there are lots of articles explaining his methodology.

Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:03 am
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