Structuring an English playgroup session

Aktualisiert: 25. Nov 2020

Playgroup is such a special time for parents and their little ones and I feel really lucky to still be part of this community now that my own children have moved onto kindergarten. It is an honour to be able to provide this experience for other parents and their children.


The aims of my English playgroup are to provide all the social benefits of a classic playgroup (for parents and children) as well as an opportunity for children to be immersed in and parents to speak in the English language. After much tweaking, this is the structure that I find provides the best balance for my 'English Rabbits'. If anyone is thinking of starting something similar and is wondering how to get started, I hope that you find this blog post helpful.


Arrival

As parents arrive, I have English songs playing and a circle of cushions laid out with English stories to be shared in the middle. Toys are out of sight so that I have the best chance of the little ones focusing during the introductory circle. (I have learned that I can't compete with a tantalisingly laid out train track.)


Introductory circle (20 mins)


  • Welcome song

Then a selection of the following:

  • Classic English knee bouncing/tickling/peekaboo rhymes

  • Parachute games

  • Nursery rhymes

  • Traditional English songs


Craft and free play (40 mins)


This is unstructured time when children can freely play with toys and take part in classic crafts/messy play on the tables if they wish. I organise craft activities that the children can do without too much adult support and that gives scope for individual creative expression. Parents appreciate simplicity so that their children can get on with it while they may be managing their younger child/baby or chatting with a friend.


Breakfast (30 minutes)


We all sit down together, say an English Prayer and then enjoy a breakfast. This is a lovely time when we introduce children to the joy of sharing a meal with friends and give busy parents the rare opportunity to sit down with a cup of coffee and good conversation. It is a great bonding time for the group.


Tidy up time (10 minutes)


Many hands (big and little) make light work.


Dancing time (15 minutes)

We dance to English action songs. This time is a highlight for many children and they often have requests for me. Following actions in English is a really great way to start picking up the language.


Story time (5 minutes)


We gather on a rug with our cushions for a story and a (sometimes) quiet ending to our busy session. I find that short board books with flaps to open, finger puppets or interesting textures to feel hold the children's attention because they enjoy being physically be involved. Finally, we end with a goodbye song.


I share traditional English songs, nursery rhymes and stories during my playgroup sessions to provide a cultural as well as linguistic English experience. Parent's also like the classics as they often have some familiarity with them making it easier for them to join in and repeat them at home with their children.


If you are planning something similar, have fun! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.



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