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Language Learning in DUCKS, Dulwich Kindergarten

Over many years at Dulwich, we have developed and refined our approach to Dual Language Learning in English and Mandarin. There is a multitude of research which validates the crucial importance of maintaining and developing children’s home language, whilst learning English. As such, our teachers adhere to a set of guidelines regarding the teaching of language in order to help students develop successfully in both languages. 

Our highly experienced English teachers will lead the DUCKS curriculum using spoken English. The children’s learning will be supported by an Assistant Teacher who speaks Mandarin as a first language, but who speaks fluent English as well. The learning environment, including print, will be in both English and Mandarin.

Our Daily Language Routines

Some daily routines that we follow to ensure a strong development of dual language learning at the College are:

  • Dual Language carpet times where the class teacher supports the assistant teacher to ensure children understand the key points and vice-versa.
  • Registration is taken alternating between English and Mandarin.
  • When teaching Maths, new concepts are introduced in English. The class teacher or assistant teacher will then follow up in Mandarin, revising the key vocabulary. 
  • When teaching English skills (Reading and Writing), both the class teacher and assistant teacher will speak English.
  • In Music, PE and Art lessons where new vocabulary is often introduced in both languages, the teacher alternates between English and Mandarin as appropriate, and always follows up with key vocabulary in both languages.
  • In Mandarin lessons the teacher speaks in Mandarin regardless of the language level of the student.
  • Around the school / playtimes / instructions – adults speak their first language first when appropriate. Language acquisition should feel natural!

The aim of the Dual Language approach in DUCKS is to develop fluent speakers in English and Mandarin by the end of Year 2 who can comfortably switch from one language to another, while always remaining secure in their first language.

Throughout the year we offer various opportunities for parents to learn more about our approach to language learning in DUCKS, through parent workshops. We also encourage parents to speak with us if they ever have any questions about how we manage dual language teaching and learning in the Dulwich Kindergarten.