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Information and advice about first language

Using first language to help your child at home

It is very important to continue speaking and developing your first language with your child.  A strong and secure first language will help your child to acquire and develop English as an additional language.  Knowledge of first language will also help to ensure that your child has a strong identity, good links with their culture, tradition and good contact and relationships with extended family and relatives.

It has been established that having more than one language improves thinking skills, memory and brain health.  Also in the future, having a second language is attractive to future employers.

Parents/carers can help develop their child’s first language skills by engaging in the following activities in their first language; singing traditional songs, reading books, and watching television/films. Furthermore,  parents/carers can ensure they talk and chat about school and everyday activities in their first language.  School work should, wherever possible, be explained in the first language to ensure the child develops a good understanding of the topic or subject being studied.  This will help the child to focus on keywords and learning vocabulary when studying the subject in school as they will already have understood the topic itself.

Please find below useful websites providing further information for parents whose children are learning English as an additional language:

https://ealresources.bell-foundation.org.uk/parents/speaking-your-home-language

https://literacytrust.org.uk/resources/understanding-bilingualism-early-years/

https://literacytrust.org.uk/early-years/bilingual-quick-tips/