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ESOL with Infants: a new way to provide English language support in the community

Our ESOL for Pregnancy project, delivered by Shipley College, thrived as an online course during the pandemic, with students feeling more able to attend sessions from their homes. As a result, courses will continue to be delivered online for the foreseeable future through a combination of WhatsApp, interactive online activities, text, email and Zoom.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the project team is now testing out a new way to provide English language support back in community settings.

Initially conceived as a follow-on course for graduates of ESOL for Pregnancy, ESOL with Infants is aimed at all parents with children under two in the Better Start Bradford area who feel they would benefit from support in speaking or reading English. The beauty is that parents attend along with their children.

Each session centres around a popular children’s book, with activities to build parents’ confidence in reading the book aloud to their child. They then take a copy of the book away to read to continue using at home. A range of English language skill levels are catered for within the class and the model appears to be working, with fantastic comments from attendees, like mum Valeria (pictured above), who has shared how much she’s enjoying reading to her daughter at home.

Valeria joined the course with 9 month-old Beatrice at SHINE. She is from Romania and has lived in Bradford for two years. She really enjoyed the English learning aspects of the course, has developed her reading skills and is really happy to be reading books to Beatrice at home in English and Romanian. She said:

 I enjoyed this course. We discussed different stories and topics. The time I spent here was perfect and I had a lovely time!

She also added that Beatrice’s favourite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Esther Derbyshire, Head of English, ESOL and Languages at the Shipley College and project lead for ESOL for Pregnancy, said:

In the final session of the ESOL for Pregnancy course we look at referrals and where women can get further support once their babies have been born. ESOL courses hardly ever have any childcare provision so further English support can be tricky. This model not only solves this issue, but means both the parents and the children are benefitting directly from the sessions.

Contact Shipley College at [email protected] or on 01274 327222 to find out more

Families with children aged 0-3, English language skills
ESOL with Infants - Information for the Workforce

Find out how to refer parents whose first language isn't English for language classes to help them communicate with their children, delivered for us by Shipley College.

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