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Play With a Purpose–Projects in Children’s EFL

Natsuru, Iroha, Kokomi 1My students and I love projects. For them, projects are the reward for working hard. For me, they’re the payoff for all the baby steps leading up to them, and a chance to see if my students can use English in “authentic” ways.

My kindergarten class just finished their first project. I’ve had these 5 and 6 year olds since April, meeting once each week for 45 minutes. Our weekly class is their only exposure to English. Play is a big part of our lessons because play is a big part of their lives–and it’s a very effective way of getting them to practice a lot of English.

We just finished learning the names of shapes. We made the shapes with our bodies, drew them on each other’s backs, counted them, combined them with colors and actions, sang songs about them–typical practice activities for young learners. The reward? Getting to play with the shapes to create pictures. Three triangles make a lovely tree, two circles and two hearts become a butterfly, hearts, circles, and triangles can all create colorful flowers.