Fluency in English

For children their world might sometimes just be ‘child’s play’ but for ENS that is not how we approach English language tuition. Our English encompasses both living and feeling the language.

Full, free ownership of a second language includes all four abilities; listening comprehension, the ability to accurately and emotionally express your ideas in the language and, of course, the ability to read and write.

The development of the first two - listening and the ability to articulate thoughts fluently in a foreign language is the most difficult task. Our nursery school pupils focus on spoken English first and foremost, it is only in the primary school (5 years) that we begin to focus on and learn more written language.

Any language is, above all, about communication. The main motivation for a child to be able to express themselves in a calm, interested and cheerful way is for verbal communication with adults and their peers. Communication, with elements of games and fun, as well as training, competition and mutual recognition and empathy form a co-creative environment for our children, and one that is essential for personal development. Their speech is ‘alive’, not memorised, but developing and growing with each day that they use it. Our teachers, as the agents of this development, work closely with our children to build the fully immersive environment necessary and ensure that all children are communicating in ‘proper’ British English in an interactive way. Just watching the emotional and lively interaction that takes place between our teachers and children everyday is testament to that!

The standard method of teaching foreign languages in schools is somewhat reminiscent of teaching a child to swim in an empty swimming pool. Children learn to simulate the swimming technique in a pool with no water and when the water begins to flow, the resulting effect can be called a ‘water barrier'. It appears to be a apparent internal contradiction of the approach that most domestic graduates of schools and gymnasiums are often shocked when confronted with the realities of authentic language abroad and frequently have to overcome a language (or water!) barrier.

The teaching method of complete ‘immersion’ taught from early childhood in ENS Nursery and Primary Schools ensure that this never happens. We understand this internal contradiction and have the expertise to ensure that our children are taught a ‘living language’. From an emotional point of view, our children have no fear of the new; and in fact through the process of communication it blurs the boundaries between the known and the unknown (misunderstood words and meanings are not restrictive, and in fact operate through intuition, facial expressions and gestures). The intelligent load of the language never proves problematic because children are not learning complex language formulas, and verb tenses such as present perfect and past continuous, they are learning a ‘living language’ through games and fun with native English language speakers. They master the language gradually and throughout the experience have immense amounts of fun along the way.

Children under five years of age have many advantages over adults in learning a foreign language. A similar miracle is undoubtedly rooted in the amazing linguistic talent of all children. The technique of language acquisition in children of this age is called ‘imprinting’ by linguists. Their language acquisition is not obtained and stored in ready-made phrases and formulas to be only used in a certain context.

When we were very young, we did not learn verb conjugations such as “I want, you want, she wants….’ We learnt imprinted phrases in our memories of whole word phrases to be used naturally such as ‘Mummy, I really want that one!’. Children perceive and reproduce language by listening and talking to others. Unlike adults they are not afraid to speak, and there is no psychological barrier. A young child does not know whether they know something or not, and they are free from any reflection on the issue. This has an extremely positive impact on the speed and nature of their language development. We hear that children try and make very funny jokes in English, just as in the case of their native Russian language. It is a ‘living language’ and a permanent sense of the language that is the only type that ensures organic development as they grow older.

A new foreign language can be successfully and easily obtained by any child from the ages of 2 to 4.5 years old. If their English language environment at nursery or primary school offers them the right conditions, then this language can be permanently fixed to build a significantly enriched vocabulary in later years that leads to complete competency and natural fluency in English.


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