Helping your child

Free online course from the British CouncilEnglish in Early Childhood – for parents and teachers

Helping your child – Guide for Parents from Aberdeen City EAL Service

Guide for Parents Print version (988 downloads)

Have you just enrolled your children at a school in Aberdeen? 

Is English a new language for them?  If so, the following suggestions may be helpful for you!

  • If you can, please provide a report of previous education for your child’s new school.
  •  Please try to go to meetings at the school to find out about your important role in supporting your child’s early learning.  For formal meetings on progress you can request an interpreter from the school. 
  • Use your own language at home!  At home, make time for talk and interaction with your child in both your mother tongue and English when playing games, watching TV, having meals.  If the first language continues to be developed, your child will learn the second language more easily!
  • We’re surrounded by the written word, not just at home or at school. Reading opportunities are everywhere!  Create an environment where your child is aware and understands the purpose of reading (use both languages if you like) and shares reading with you.  Shopping lists, recipes, food packets, signs, advertisements, TV programme times, envelopes and postcards are all valuable.
  • Encourage interest in reading and writing by providing attractive books with pictures, nursery rhymes and traditional tales.  Magazines and comics are OK!
  • When a book comes home from school, encourage your child to become involved in the story, joining in repetition, saying what comes next, discussing characters and retelling favourite bits.  Enjoy reading together!
  • For your younger children provide toys and games which introduce them to letter symbols e.g. alphabet friezes, plastic letters, building blocks with raised symbols, sand.  Enjoy playing together!
  • Buy some paper and crayons to encourage drawing and writing.  You can also write in sand or snow!
  • Allow your child to read favourite books again and again.  This includes bilingual books of course, which you can borrow from the library.  The familiarity of favourite books is comforting and promotes literacy development.  Don’t get cross if your child gets stuck or wants to re-read an easy book he/she enjoys – this creates a feeling of success!  Enjoy Reading Together!
  • Create a stress-free, happy and enjoyable atmosphere for learning activities done at home!  Give lots of encouragement and praise.
  • Be patient and allow your child time to get used to living in 2 languages! 



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