Lately, my education obsession has been teaching English to toddlers. My school recently opened a program for 2 1/2 – 4 year olds. At first, I was doubtful. Actually, that’s an understatement. After teaching my center’s first demo lesson for these sticky, crying, tiny people who were hardly out of diapers, I flatly refused to teach the class. Transferring to a new center within the same company, having a new boss, and being promoted to a new position, put me in a place where I couldn’t exactly say no when this age group was offered to me for the second time around. I felt apprehensive, but ready to go. What was the worst that could happen?
They didn’t speak. At all. For at least 4 weeks. So there I was, the singing, dancing westerner, purely there for their entertainment, begging them to like me, begging them to talk, to stop crying, to stop throwing up, PLEASE!
And then something changed. Suddenly, they started singing the songs. They began playing the games. And about 2 months in we had a major breakthrough when every single one of them remembered to say “yes please” and no thank you, ” when it was time for stickers. And they still. haven’t. forgotten.
These tiny people are now my favorites. I get to see them for two hours a week and they’re easily my favorite two hours of teaching. We jump around, we dance, we do play acting, we color and scribble and make faces. We laugh. The other day one of them called me a witch a full week after the halloween lesson I taught. A week and she could still use the word! This may not seem like a big deal when you’re used to school-aged children who soak up every bit of new vocab you teach them, but pre-schoolers are SERIOUSLY lacking in long-term memory. So it was a small victory that one of them could now insult me in perfect English.
I’m a convert. Pre-school English works. Even if only to give them critical exposure to the language so that they aren’t afraid of it later on.
What do you think? Is it worth it to teach 2 year olds?