DOTS Fist English. De 1 a 5 años
DOTS First English has been designed by inlingua for children from non-English speaking homes. Children acquire language skills naturally and easily by listening and speaking.
With DOTS First English, the learning process of the English language becomes associated with fun.
The DOTS First English program is for toddlers (1-2 yrs old) and preschoolers (3-5 yrs old). Each program is compatible with the cognitive development of its age group.
In class, the children are the focal point. They act, sing, say rhymes and interact with the material.
How it's organized
DOTS First English promotes a faster and more effective learning process than other methods.
Upon completion of the DOTS First English program, every child should be able to:
- Understand the message coming from English texts (rhymes, chants, songs, stories, etc.) and English speech (descriptions, instructions, directions, errands, etc.) that are meaningful to children and related both to the topics presented and the classroom interaction.
- Use both verbal and non-verbal resources (signs, pointing, gestures, glances, mime, etc.) to convey messages.
- Take part in conversations that arise in the classroom regarding routines and activities, according to the characteristics of each age group .
- Show interest and curiosity in the foreign language and develop positive attitudes towards the different uses of the language.
- Acknowledge linguistic diversity and realize that languages and the different ways they are used, satisfy the need of communication between people.
The sequencing of the program respects the cognitive development of children and their needs at each age.
The program is divided into five groups according to age. This separation of children between the ages of 1 and 5 guarantees that the material and activities are completely age appropriate.
In order to ensure individualized attention from the teacher, the methodology establishes a maximum number of children per class:
• Ages 1 and 2: five children maximum.
• Ages 3, 4, and 5: eight children maximum.
For 1-year-olds parents are present in the classroom throughout the school year, in order to help each child interact with the teacher and establish emotional bonds between them.
For 2-year-olds parents are involved with the same objectives, but only for the first two sessions.
Given the abilities of the children, the duration of the classes will be:
• Ages 1 and 2: 45 minutes, once a week.
• Ages 3, 4, and 5: 1 hour, once a week.
The stages are based on the seasons of the year and utilize familiar events.
The material is divided into four stages according to the four seasons of the year: autumn, winter, spring, and summer. All of the action takes place in the same location: Dots City.
For Age Groups 1 and 2: Each stage is divided into eight lessons. Stages introduce topics related to the season and to those objects, people and situations that are familiar to the children.
For Age Groups 3, 4, and 5: Each stage is divided into two units with four lessons. The topics within each stage are connected to the season’s features. A story or a familiar event is used as the organizational focal point.
Children acquire knowledge about themselves and their surroundings through firsthand experience and experimentation.
Based on the constructivist theory, all of the teaching strategies we suggest place an emphasis on action, since it is the driving force of development and learning. The teaching strategies used are:
- Songs: They are very attractive and offer children a splendid opportunity to play with the language.
- Rhymes and Chants: Their enchanting musicality, rhythm, sounds and the action that accompany them really attract children.
- Routines: Routines are activities repeated every day. They are mainly used to work on greetings, farewells and habits of courtesy and tidiness.
- Stories: Stories motivate children, spark fantasy, develop creativity and imagination, trigger verbal skills and expose children to new words and structures.
- Crafts: There are few things that stimulate children as much as art. Language is used as a vehicle. Art provides specific vocabulary and expressions in a new context.
- Cooking: More than making something good to eat; cooking is an ideal way to learn because it involves all five senses. Children are enthusiastic because they are experimenting.
- Science: At this age children need to interact with real objects and use their senses to understand and learn. Science is the real world (the wind blowing and making the leaves on the trees move; teeth falling out, etc.).
- Games: Games are the outstanding teaching strategy at these ages. They offer some of the best occasions to use the language since the context is real and meaningful to the children. They love playing.
- Magic: Curiosity leads to knowledge. Magic amazes children while they learn new structures and vocabulary. It promotes imagination and surprise.
- Drama and Role Play: Children assume roles and act out fictional situations. Through these activities children interact with each other, explore, display their creativity, channel emotions, etc.
- Resource Sheets: These give each child the opportunity to work individually and practice the verbal skills presented in the class.
- Video clips: Video clips are especially designed to work on a specific topic. It is an excellent tool to bring the outside world into the classroom.
- Listening: Active listening exercises based on stories, chants and rhymes, listening exercises with instructions, etc., develop comprehension, pronunciation and intonation. These exercises are on the children’s CD.
- Oral practice: inlingua Method exercises are perfectly adaptable to young children. Choral repetition, chaining and weaving are great fun!
The assessment of progress is essential. Children are not expected to learn a lot of words and structures. On the contrary, the aim is to give them an introduction to the English language that they will gradually expand and learn to use in different situations.
It is important to remember that we are focusing mainly on the development of the ability to listen and speak. Non-linguistic elements which students use to improve communication are also important: facial expressions, gestures and mime are part of the linguistic development. When a child accompanies the oral language with non-linguistic expressions, he/she demonstrates a clear understanding of the language. If a child does not remember a word but gets by through gestures, he/she is using a survival method which, even though it is not as useful as the word or phrase in question, is an important part of language learning. Our goal is to develop communicative competence in English. Success is not measured by the amount of vocabulary and structures acquired, nor is it determined by the number of songs and poems a chiild can learn. It is achieved when children understand and use phrases such as: “Cookies, please”, “Thank you”, “I’m happy”, “It’s mine”, “Can you tie my shoelaces, please?”.