A headteacher recently told me that the percentage of children who struggle with the English language because it is not their first language is increasing rapidly. So, as a Schools Worker aiming to serve the local schools, I have been researching ways in which we can aid the schools to help these children to develop their skills in the English language, in order to improve their chances at excelling academically, securing jobs and building lasting relationships.
Through researching ways in which to help these children, I have found that the use of puppets can help to improve language skills in children by aiding the development of;
- oral comprehension skills
- the ability to internalise language patterns
- skills which help to facilitate language learning
According to my research, children who are learning English as a second language often find it helpful to speak to or through a puppet who ‘only speaks English’, as it forces them to use English rather than their first language and helps them to develop their confidence in doing so. Their confidence can also be boosted by performing behind a puppet stage, as they cannot see the people watching so feel more at ease. As well as this, the children can write their own scripts to perform, which can help them to further develop their language skills.
Therefore, we would like to raise £750 to invest in a puppet stage with curtains and 6 puppets (of a variety of sizes) in order to start clubs in some of the primary schools in Harrow specifically for children who need to improve their communication skills in the English language. The headteacher who we had the initial conversation with would love us to trial the project in her school.
We have a TEFL trained employee and another with BA(Hons) in Youth and Community work who has experience in drama, as well as many willing volunteers, some of which are trained in puppetry and are bilingual themselves. We know that in partnership with each other and with the school, we can create an environment in which the children can thrive in their learning.
We are currently visiting 17 schools at Christmas and Easter, 2 of which we are in every week and many we visit throughout the year to run events or lessons for them. We would also love to use the resources that we are able to buy with this money to use in other capacities, such as Christmas and Easter plays, lessons and clubs, as well as lending them to others who would benefit from them.
Re:generation is a Christian charity working in schools around Harrow aiming to create exciting experiences for children to discover and learn about the Christian faith, and are passionate about serving schools in any way that we can to enable children to learn, grow and reach their potential.
If you receive the reward of naming a puppet, this must be agreed with Re:generation.