English as an Additional Language

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Information for non-English speaking students’ parents.

Every year we happily welcome non-English speakers into our classes. In keeping with Hillside philosophy, we believe that all students learn best when they are integrated into the regular classes. While your child will be learning English, the lessons may be slightly different than the ones you have experienced in other schools. The EAL teachers and the classroom teachers meet regularly to discuss how to help each individual child as they progress in their language development.

Your child is beginning a wonderful new language adventure. Below is some important information that we want to share with you, to help you support your child: 

• The days are long when listening to a new language and your children will probably be very tired when they come home.

• Students will be learning a lot of English in the first few months. Please do not hire an external tutor without talking to us about it first. 

• You can support your children’s learning and our curriculum by talking about school work with them in your home language.

• If homework is too difficult, please help your children. They can complete the assignments in the home language, and you can help them with the written part if appropriate. You can also just send the class teacher a message if your child is unable to complete the work. 

Over the years we have had many children join us with no English. While this is a challenge for children, learning will become easier and easier as the year progresses. Every child is different, and so the speed and style of learning will be different. All students will learn English if they remain in an English speaking school for long enough.

Please support your children by maintaining a positive attitude towards English and allowing them to hear you speak English whenever possible. However, please do not begin speaking English at home. We hope you will support your children’s development by giving them many opportunities to continue to use their home language in both social and academic ways (reading, writing, and speaking).

Please speak to either the classroom teacher if your child is finding the transition difficult. If you have questions about this, please contact the EAL Learners (English Additional Language) Department teacher.