When I first started teaching ESL to kids in 2004, there weren’t a lot of resources available. I had a quick crash course from the company that hired me, but then I was thrown into the classroom by myself. Alone. With kids who barely spoke English.
The good thing about that company is that they provided a strong framework for the lessons, along with standard materials. They also had regular teacher trainings and a decent support system. The hard thing was that I was only seeing these kids once a month. I alternated between four different schools and the kids can just once a week.
Through a childhood friend, I got a better opportunity at an actual preschool. Called an “international preschool” in Japan, it’s what we’d refer to as a language immersion school. My kids were very young, but since they came almost every day of the week, I was able develop a good relationship with them and their parents, and their English eventually became quite good.
At this school, though, we were sort of winging it. We had lists of vocabulary words that they should know at different levels, plenty of games and other resources, but no real plan to guide us in our lessons. We had to do things on our own.
Naturally, I hit the internet. To my surprise, there was almost no information available about teaching English as a second language to children, especially very young children. Even some of the classic ESL sites like Dave’s ESL Café had a strong focus on adults, high school students and older elementary kids – the type of people who already have a bit of understanding about how their own language works.
I started the Teach ESL to Kids site at that time to share what I’d learned with others. During that time, I had hundreds of people write to thank me for providing this help.
I am no longer teaching in Japan, but I still have a desire to help out any teachers who need that help. I’m currently a homeschooling mom to two young children and a freelance writer. This site has gone through many incarnations and at one time, I had to take it offline because I couldn’t pay for the hosting. I am now starting to go through things again to make it better organized and more useful for everyone who needs it.
Thank you so much for visiting my site, and please let me know if you have any suggestions.
If you’re interested in hiring me for writing projects or have any questions about teaching ESL to little kids, please feel free to contact me at ShannonETani at gmail dot com.