Yes we do!
Herth+Buss has been supporting English lessons at the St. Cäcilia day nursery in Heusenstamm with a sponsorship since 2005. The day nursery is attended by children between the ages of 14 months and 6 years.
The children have the opportunity to learn through playful activities in the "Open group" (for 3 to 6-year-olds) and the "Regular group" (for 6/7-year-olds).
Amongst other things the day nursery offers English lessons for all children as of the age of 3. Herth+Buss is of course delighted to support this project!
My visit gave me the chance to find out more about the day nursery and the English lessons.
The budding linguistic geniuses were full of interest right from the start and began by giving a rendering of a little English song. The English teacher, Ms Scheibe, adopted a playful approach to learning and did not allow herself to be put off by an occasional bit of rumpus. In both groups she gave each child personal attention to make sure they enjoyed what they were doing. Afterwards I also had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her work as an English teacher in a day nursery.ntil the 3rd year in Heusenstamm. I have also noticed that children who speak a different native language pick up English very quickly. They often do very well indeed – particularly in comparison with the German children.
Ms Scheibe, how long have you been teaching the children English here at the kindergarten, and how did it come about in the first place?
I have now been teaching English at the St. Cäcilia day nursery since early 2005. I offered them my course in the middle of 2004 (my younger son attended this kindergarten as well). To start off with I did six months on a voluntary, probationary basis. The highly positive response and the fact that the head teacher was keen for all children to participate gave rise to the idea of sponsorship. The intention was that the lessons should also be open to children from families who do not have the appropriate financial means. And children who come not because they have to, but because they enjoy it, should be made to feel welcome too.
I also teach at the "Schlosszwerge" day nursery two hours a week. But that is paid for by the parents.
Do you specialise as an English teacher for kindergartens, or do you give lessons at primary schools as well?
No, I am not an English teacher in the conventional sense of the word.
I completed a foreign languages course in English and French and spent 6 years living and working in London. For many years I was involved in association work with groups of children and also gave coaching in both languages.
To learn more about teaching methods, I attended an "Introduction to English Language Teaching" course at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Over the years I have completed numerous courses on "English in the kindergarten".
Are the lessons part of a standard curriculum for this age group, or is attendance voluntary?
In the "Open group", all children of any age can come and go as they choose. I am pleased to say that it is very rare for children to leave in the middle of a lesson. The "Regular group" is made up of 6 to 7-year-old children who will soon be starting primary school.
They "sign up" for my lessons every Friday for 3-4 months.
Do you have a specific concept for your instruction, or are there certain rituals?
What do the children particularly enjoy?
I do employ a certain concept for my work with the "Regular group", but do not stick rigidly to it. Naturally, there are certain rituals that the children love, as well as particular games. I adapt a good deal to the needs and moods of the children in the course of the lesson. As the years go by it becomes easier and easier to react spontaneously.
Can you tell that the children are enjoying learning?
Definitely! At that age children are interested, open-minded, love to imitate and are not afraid to speak. They learn through playful activities, through rhymes, songs, games and stories. As I am very fond of the English language, I pass on my knowledge with enthusiasm. For me it is very important to enjoy working with the language. And that is what I like to transmit.
I love it every Friday when I arrive at the kindergarten and the children come rushing up to ask: "Can I do English as well?". I find that really touching.
Do you have any knowledge about how effective it is to learn English at an early age?
Is it then a lot easier for children at school?
In my experience, the children definitely find it easier at school, as they already have a certain foundation to build on (numbers, colours, various songs, school materials etc.). It is a shame that English does not start until the 3rd year in Heusenstamm. I have also noticed that children who speak a different native language pick up English very quickly. They often do very well indeed – particularly in comparison with the German children.
How does your teaching benefit from sponsorship (materials and so on)?
Would the lessons still take place in the day nursery even without sponsorship?
I am and always will be extremely grateful for the sponsorship, particularly as I can compare it with my teaching work for the "Schlosszwerge" day nursery. As I mentioned before, the sponsored lessons really are available to ALL the children, as and when they want them.
I would like to take this opportunity of personally thanking Herth+Buss for their sponsorship over the years.