What it's all about
In my previous school I worked as a language and early years teacher, writes Michelle Dredger, and it got me thinking: why couldn't I use my passion for languages to inspire children aged three and above to love other languages and cultures?
I started off slowly, taking the register in Spanish. The children were hooked from the start: "Dora the Explorer speaks like that, you know, Miss." Then, when I wanted their attention, I would count down in Spanish: cinco, cuatro, tres and so on, to silencio.
The morning routine was eventually delivered in both languages, with the children entering the classroom to Spanish music and finding their self- registration cards, which read "Me llamo ." ("my name is ."). The days of the week were sung to the Flintstones theme tune. The weather was discussed in both languages.
The classroom was transformed into a bilingual zone, with words displayed in both languages. A display board was filled with Spanish images produced by the children, from flags to flamenco dancers.
The class mascots were Dora the Explorer (pictured) and her friend Boots, and the children took them home for the weekend and detailed their exploits in their diary. I would then describe some of their adventures in Spanish.
Slowly, little bits of Spanish were drip-fed to the pupils. By Christmas they were at ease with this dual-language approach. Ofsted rated my practice as outstanding and I noticed a huge improvement in their speaking and listening skills.
Try squiggle7 `s bilingual classroom signs in English and Spanish. bit.lyBilingualsigns
Get pupils comparing England and Spain using pictures from Malena113. bit.lyEnglandorSpain.