Skip to content


Top tips for working with EAL children in Early Years

  • Use picture fans to help communication.
  • Use visual timetables.
  • Use plenty of visuals and props when telling stories.
  • Tell repetitive stories and play games that involve repetition of language.
  • Use mime and gesture to support language learning.
  • Make sure everyone can pronounce each other’s names correctly.
  • Learn a couple of useful phrases in children’s home languages.
  • Learn and teach number rhymes, nursery rhymes and songs in children’s home languages.
  • Make a poster of greetings and phrases in all the languages within the setting and the community.
  • Talk regularly with parents and use an interpreter when necessary.
  • Invite parents to share customs and food from their own cultures.
  • Advise parents to continue using their home language at home.
  • Instead of correcting children when they attempt to speak English rephrase what they have said.
  • Give EAL children plenty of listening time; children usually go through a ‘silent’ period before they are ready to speak.
  • Ensure that your resources reflect the diversity of children within and beyond the setting.
  • Give EAL children opportunities to talk in their home language where possible.