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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

How to help young children learn English

One of the best things you can do for your children is to teach them English from an early age. From social confidence to brain development, academic results to employment potential, the benefits are almost endless. Here’s how to introduce English for children through games and fun activities.

Why children need to learn English

Let’s begin by discussing why English for children matters in the early years of their education.

Over one billion people speak English around the world. And, unusually, more people speak English as a second language than as their mother tongue. English is the language of international business, diplomacy, education, finance and even aviation. In other words, it’s an essential life skill for the 21st century. However, these aren’t the only benefits of learning English for kids. Learning languages as a child is also very good for your brain.

Young children have an amazing capacity to absorb a vast amount of new information in their brains. This means that when it comes to languages and skills, they are able to pick them up more easily than adults. Research from Lund University in Sweden has proven that learning a second language can even make brains grow larger!

Children who learn English also have the opportunity to practise their communication skills. Through playing word games, speaking in front of a group and practising conversational routines, they gain social skills and confidence.

How to start teaching English at home

It’s never too early to start teaching English to kids. In fact, the earlier you start, the better!

However, it’s important to choose the right approach. Children at an early age have short attention spans and aren’t used to rigid classroom rules. Instead, you should make English for kids an enjoyable experience, with short activities and fun songs, stories and games.

In the next section, we’ve shared some tips for teaching English to early years children.

Tips for teaching English to young children

  • Treat English as a fun game. Play word games, paper games or even playground games in English. Keep it short and sweet: ideally, your child should think of English as a fun activity that you do together, just like going to the park or doing crafts.
  • Make English part of your daily routine. With small children, it’s best to learn little and often. And by incorporating English into your everyday life, you’ll create an immersion effect. Students often get better results when they learn English through immersion such as cultivating a habit of reading books together or discussing their day.
  • Tell stories. Young kids love reading, hearing and telling stories. So it’s a great way to start teaching English at home! Initially it’s a good idea to read to your child but gradually they should be given the opportunity to read the story to you. You can do this by taking turns to read different pages in the book.
  • Be careful and don’t be too pedantic. Remember, your goal is to make English for children seem playful and natural. Don’t worry about correcting your kid’s tenses or explaining conditionals to them! If you correct them too much, you may run the risk of stifling their confidence.
  • Use songs and music. Most children love singing or playing music. Plus, singing is a great way to remember new words or practise correct pronunciation. There are lots of videos for early years English online which use actions and pictures as extra language support. Try these ones on the British Council LearnEnglishKids website: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/listen-watch

English classes for young children

As well as learning English at home, you might decide that your child would benefit from an English class for kids.

These classes can speed up your child’s learning because they are taught by expert instructors and provide more opportunities to practise communication skills in a group. However, it’s still important to keep chatting, playing and singing at home!

About The British Council in Malaysia

The British Council in Malaysia offers a wide range of English classes for young children - including group courses and customised one-to-one courses. Your child will learn more than just language, they will develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and making connections. Our aim is to nurture our students to become creative thinkers and confident communicators, so that they may thrive both inside and outside of the classroom.

To find out more about our courses for kids and teens, visit our website or book a free consultation with our friendly consultant.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

2023/2024 School Holidays Calendar


We have so many school holidays and yet the strange thing is we keep on looking out for more! For example, we have a 3 week holiday in December 2022, a 5 day Chinese New Year holiday in January 2023 and another 3 weeks end of academic year holiday in March 2023. So many holidays and yet, the first question that parents often ask is "Is the school holiday schedule for next year out yet?" 

It is finally uploaded on the MOE site. Now parents can do planning for 2023/2024. 

The academic year remains the same which means that the school year will begin in March 2023 and the calendar is now  called the 2023/2024 academic calendar. Below is the calendar including the Festive calendar for 2023/2024.You can download it in pdf format from the Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia website here: Kalendar Academik Sesi 2023/2024

Below is the academic calendar for 2023/2024 for Group A schools ie schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

The first day of school for Group A schools is 19 March 2023.

Below is the academic calendar for 2023/2024 session for Group B schools ie schools in Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan & Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya.

The first day of school in 2023 for Group B schools is 20 March 2023.

The Festive Calendar 2023/2024 is below. A few festivals like Christmas 2023 and Chinese New Year 2024 happen to fall during the school holidays. 

Apart from asking about the school holidays schedule, parents have been wondering whether the start of school would revert back to January instead of March. The Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia just answered this question in their latest Facebook post dated 10 December 2022.  which is reproduced below. 

In the post, they explained a few issues:

  • Schools to start a week later in March 2023. The first day of school has been pushed further to 19 or 20 March 2023 instead of 12 or 13 of March 2023 to facilitate the SPM examinations. However, even with this push back, schools is still able to maintain the minimum number of days required in a year.
  • The decision to revert the school calendar back to January has been deferred. It would take 3 years from 2023 to 2026 by reducing holidays etc to revert back to January. Therefore, in consideration of the economic impact of this to the nation and the wellfare of teachers and students, the decision to revert the school calendar has been deferred.
  • SPM will not be in November or December due to floods. Previously SPM was conducted in November or December but it has since been postponed to February or March due to flooding. KPM notes that by holding the exams in February or March, the waiting period for university students is shortened, however they will constantly monitor the preparation of the academic calendar for the next year to ensure the smooth flow of teaching and learning.

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