EAL Resources for Early Years Settings to Promote Inclusion

It can be challenging providing for children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) within the early years. There are different factors to take into consideration and children can often find it difficult to settle in an unfamiliar environment. It is down to you to support their transition to your nursery or early years setting and help them settle in. In this blog post we will look at what EAL resources for early years settings are available and how to use them.

Early Years settings must promote an inclusive environment in which every individual is fully accepted, respected and valued. The EYFS states that “every child is included and supported”.

In some nursery settings, where there are higher ratios and lack of resources to access additional support, inclusivity can be really tricky. But an inclusive practice for all EAL is essential to make sure no child is left behind.

Multilingualism And Inclusion

Each year, more and more children are joining early years settings with EAL. Whilst you may be wondering how on earth you are going to create an inclusive setting with a range of languages to take into consideration, it is actually a great opportunity to teach

good listening skills and to promote speech and language.

The list of resources you will find in this blog post are going to be a great tool for your session plans, as a way to include each and every child within your setting. Regardless of language or additional needs, you will be able to use the resources to create fun and engaging activities for children. The children will also be able to share these with their parents or carers, to strengthen the home link.

When we talk about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), we are including all children from birth up to the age of five, so the resources used have to reflect that. You can adapt the ideas listed below to accommodate the different range of ages within your setting.

Multilingualism is strongly linked to critical thinking, therefore we need to make sure we are nurturing learning within this area.

EAL Resources For Early Years Settings

Below you will find a list of different ways to include EAL children within your setting:

Books For Early Years

Part of the new focus from the EYFS is creating a lifelong love of reading. This is a fantastic place to start when thinking about EAL resources, as books are one of our greatest teachers.

Reading either in small groups, one to one or as a whole class, promotes communication and language, literacy and understanding the world. All areas of learning within the EYFS.

Have you tried Polylino yet?

Polylino is a digital picture book service for nurseries and primary schools to use with children aged 0-7 years old. The service is user-friendly and you will find a huge range of picture books which can either be read aloud or listened to in different languages.

We have partnered with publishers and literature experts in the UK to provide hundreds of high-quality picture books on your smart device which are fully aligned with the EYFS and KS1 curriculum.

For each book, a child can browse the pages, listen to or mute the soundtrack and read for themselves, bookmark their favourite parts, zoom in on the text or artwork, and read together or separately.

Polylino is accessible for all as it can be shared through the home link, meaning parents can really carry on the learning at home, running seamlessly alongside the teaching you are delivering within your setting.

Involving Their Home Language

As mentioned previously, the home links play an important role when including EAL children in your setting and will build a strong bond between parents and nursery staff.

It also helps with the settling in period for a child and parent. Communication is very important and it would be a nice idea to get children to share their home language with their peers.

You could ask parents to come in and teach the children some simple phrases such as “hello” or “goodbye”.

Parents might like to share any special foods they cook at home with their own children.

One of the great features of the Polylino service is that it promotes that home link. Alongside using the service you could use learning journals or diaries to share what the child has been doing within the setting as well as at home.

Listening Activities

Within any childcare setting, involving children in listening activities is going to be beneficial. Set up a quiet corner, making it cosy with cushions and if your resources can stretch perhaps some fairy lights. Encourage children to use the quiet area, explaining to them what it is for, making sure it is accessible to all the children in the setting.

A good listening game to play with the children to encourage listening skills, is Simon Says. Play this in a small group if possible to really encourage the listening, however it can be played in a big group if you haven’t got enough staff to manage a small group.

You could also play musical statues: great for listening skills and a physical activity!

Visual Prompts

Using visual prompts in an early years setting can be a great way to gently encourage EAL children to join in with activities. Putting together a story sack or using a visual timetable of the day at nursery are different things you could try within your setting.

Polylino has a free early years resource which would be a great visual prompt to use in your setting: a poster sharing “hello” in different languages. A great tool to have up on the wall, possibly by the entrance door.

Song Bags

Children will start to imitate and repeat both actions and words when singing songs. This is a great activity to do as a group and will be particularly valuable for children who have EAL.

Use a drawstring bag and fill it with around five different objects that represent popular nursery rhymes. For example, a toy farmer would represent “Old MacDonald” or a toy sheep for “Baa Baa Black Sheep”.

Pass the bag around the group, inviting each child to have a go at choosing an object from the song bag before singing together as a group.

Understanding The World

Understanding the world is one of the four specific areas of the EYFS. It is important to be sure you are incorporating this into your planning because it is especially inclusive for EAL children. Understanding the world in early years is about helping children to make sense of their physical world as well as their communities. They can do this through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Now To Put It Into Practise

Hopefully by now you have gained some inspiration for EAL resources to use within your early years setting to promote inclusion for all children.
Remember, when a child is new to your setting they may be silent. This is okay and even to be expected. As they are starting to learn English, it is common for children to go through a silent phase. The child is absorbing what they are learning and building their understanding, all in preparation for when they are ready to move onto the stage of talking.

It is important that child care practitioners carry on talking and encourage the child and use their early years resources as best they can to support the children within their setting.