Mother Tongue Language and Literacy
Mother tongue language support goes beyond cultural identity. All subsequent language and academic study is built upon the mother tongue foundation. All students at ISL Surrey have lessons in their mother tongue as an integral part of the curriculum and as part of the normal school day. Languages currently offered include Afrikaans, Arabic, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Swedish, and Urdu. Additional languages are added as necessary.
The ISL Surrey mother tongue language and literacy programme goes beyond merely maintaining the social use of language, to preparing students for possible future academic studies in the language. It is part of the school curriculum with lessons on three days per week held in classes with students of similar ages and levels. Mainstream classroom topics are reinforced in the mother tongue classroom so that literacy and fluency develop in parallel in both English and the mother tongue language. This reinforcement, helps students learn more quickly as the transfer of concepts and skills in two languages mutually strengthens both.
Mother tongue language learning in Early Childhood is focussed on developing speaking and listening fluency. Children receive three, 45-minute class periods per week in mother tongue or French for English language speakers. As the nature of the Early Childhood classroom supports the development of English language fluency, there is no separate EAL support. Each child’s progress in English and the mother tongue is followed and assessed using the criteria set out in the UK Department for Education Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Primary language learning focuses on developing the literacy of both languages in parallel. Explicit links in terms of content and underlying skills are made between the learning in the mainstream classroom and mother tongue lessons. This common approach to language teaching mutually strengthens both languages as concepts, skills and content are transferred between the two languages.
Students have five, 45 minute class periods per week spread over three days. In lower primary (kindergarten and grade 1), students continue the Early Childhood focus on speaking and listening, progressing to the development of reading literacy and academic language in the upper grades.