English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Good and outstanding settings and schools will rise to the challenges presented by working with children and families from diverse backgrounds including those learning English as an Additional Language. They will actively engage parents and other family members as equal partners in supporting children to achieve their full potential.

Learning English as a additional language

We recognise that EAL children learning English in settings or schools are already developing fluency in one or more other languages at home and are adding English to that repertoire.

The early years of life are the optimum time for any child to learn an additional language and to become bilingual or multilingual, however, this will not necessarily mean that they have equal or full fluency in each of these languages

The importance of home languages

Bilingualism, or multilingualism, is an asset for people of any age, but the first language learnt will have a continuing and significant role in identity, learning, and the acquisition of additional languages.

Practitioners have a vital role to play in reassuring parents/carers that strengthening and developing their use of the home language(s) will support the development of children’s skills in English. Home language skills are transferrable to any new language learnt and strengthen children’s understanding of language use.

Celebrating children’s linguistic and cultural diversity in the EYFS

These materials are a toolkit for early years practitioners and are presented in four chapters following the four themes of the EYFS:

A Unique Child 

Positive Relationships 

Enabling Environments 

Learning and Development