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Building Linguistic Foundations in the Early Years

Building Linguistic Foundations in the Early Years

Language is the cornerstone of communication and it serves as the gateway to critical thinking, understanding cultures, forming connections, and fostering empathy. The Early Years mark a period of rapid brain development, where children are remarkably receptive to learning. During this time, language skills are honed, and neural connections are formed at an astounding rate. Exposure to a rich linguistic environment in preschool lays the groundwork for proficient language acquisition. The foundation built during these formative years serves as a critical scaffold for future academic, social, and emotional success.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB), the foundations of language learning in the Early Years are meticulously selected, nurturing a rich linguistic experience that extends far beyond mere vocabulary and grammar. Our teachers carefully plan lessons and curate activities to engage students and provide real life experiences for them to immerse themselves in the target language and culture. The main goal is not for students to learn a language, but to learn through it. Further, through interactive activities inside and outside of the classroom such as storytelling, songs, conversations, cooking, and gardening, to name a few, our students are continuously exposed to vocabulary, grammar, and communication skills, strengthening their linguistic abilities. 

German Early Years students sit in a circle learning from one another.

At the heart of the IB philosophy lies the belief that linguistic proficiency is not limited to the mastery of words; instead it embodies a deep comprehension of cultural perspectives, global perspectives, and an appreciation for diversity. Consequently, our Early Years Programme is dedicated to cultivating a robust foundation in language acquisition that supports our students' holistic development. At INTL there is a deep focus on supporting students in becoming bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural.

Within the IB framework, language learning is not a standalone entity, but an integrated aspect woven into the fabric of various disciplines. The inquiry-based approach encourages students to explore, question, and express themselves in multiple languages, fostering not only linguistic agility but also critical thinking, creativity, and intercultural understanding.

In Rainbow class, parents sent their children to school dressed in traditional Indian attire to celebrate Diwali with their classmates.

The foundations of language learning in the Early Years of an IB programme are anchored in the following key principles:

Multilingual Environment: We recognize the inherent value of multilingualism and actively promote an environment where various languages are respected, learned, and celebrated. Students are encouraged to engage with different languages, embracing the beauty of linguistic diversity. For example, in Moon class, students can choose in which language the class sings “Happy Birthday” to them.

Authentic Contexts: Language learning transcends textbooks; it thrives in authentic contexts. Through an IB education, we aim to integrate language learning into real-life situations, connecting language acquisition with meaningful experiences that resonate with young learners. In their English class, puppet shows and theater are used for role play and acting out stories.

Cultural Understanding: Language is intertwined with culture. We aim to foster an appreciation for different cultures, enabling students to comprehend the nuances, traditions, and perspectives embedded within languages. This cultural awareness enriches language learning and promotes global-mindedness. In Rainbow class, parents sent their children to school dressed in traditional Indian attire to celebrate Diwali with their classmates.

Inquiry-Based Learning: The IB's inquiry-based approach encourages curiosity and exploration. Through inquiry-driven activities and projects, students delve into linguistic landscapes, honing their language skills while developing research, communication, and problem-solving abilities. In Sun class, students have a “question wall” they explore and discuss with inquiries students have about the weather.

Holistic Development: Language learning in the Early Years of an IB programme is not solely focused on linguistic competence. It is interwoven with other essential skills and attributes, nurturing well-rounded individuals equipped with communication prowess, cultural sensitivity, and a thirst for knowledge. In Oak class, students engage in dancing as a way of expressing emotions.

Early Years students discover movement skills through play.


Fostering bilingual leaders with boundless futures.
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An International Baccalaureate education from preschool to high school.