Sowing the seeds of language.
Kids&Us uses a learning methodology based on the natural process of mother tongue acquisition, an infallible process which takes place in a specific, natural and spontaneous order.
When babies are born, their brains start to undergo a wiring process where all connections, including that of language, are made and refined. In order to activate this powerful network, it is necessary to provide it with meaningful stimuli which make the most of the brain’s innate abilities to learn. At Kids&Us we want to maximise and optimise all these mechanisms which are triggered in the first years of life in order to use them for the acquisition of a second or third language.
Our method in more detail
Could a child learn their mother tongue without having ever heard it before?
Clearly the language acquisition process begins long before the child actually begins to speak. Therefore, the Kids&Us methodology is based on children beginning to assimilate the new language through daily exposure from the first year of life.
How does a child start to understand their mother tongue?
After hearing the same combinations of words at different times and in various contexts, the child eventually understands the meaning of everything they listen to. Parents talk to their children naturally, using a variety of words, phrases and sentences in different tenses. Kids&Us reproduces this situation with their students by exposing them to the language as it is used naturally and in contexts which are easily recognisable to them.
When does a child start to talk?
Talking is a natural consequence of listening and understanding. After the children have listened to and understood the language, we create situations where they have a chance to put into words everything that they have been learning up to that point.
In our mother tongue, would we even contemplate our child reading before they can speak?
Reading is a natural consequence of listening, understanding and speaking. Starting to learn a language by reading and writing is not the natural process; it is like a bird trying to fly before it knows how to spread its wings.
When do we start to write?
Writing is expressing thoughts on paper. To reach this stage of language development, it is essential to have mastered the previous stages: listening, understanding and speaking.
Each and every one of our teachers must pass a selection process consisting of an oral and written evaluation. At the very minimum, they are required to have English language skills equivalent to at least level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference.
To ensure proper implementation of the method and, therefore, an excellent quality of teaching, all Kids&Us teachers must carry out an initial training programme before they can teach. Similarly, each and every one of them is required to take part in continuous and refresher training sessions as stipulated in their corporate training plan.
Our teachers are audited every term by the Quality Department of the Kids&Us Head Office in order to ensure the optimal implementation of the method. The classes are recorded and uploaded to a system where they can later be assessed by the Kids&Us Auditing Team. The auditors, who form part of the Quality Team, are experts in the Kids&Us methodology. Through the audit reports, teachers are provided with essential tools to improve their skills and ensure that their work in the classroom is excellent. Guaranteeing the quality of our teaching is undoubtedly one of the keys in order for our students to achieve the expected results at each level.
- Our own methodology
- Small groups
- Access to the method up to the age of 7
- Continuity until the age of 18
- Courses adapted to each age
- Dynamic sessions 100% in English
- Daily exposure to the language by means of listening daily to an audio track
- Innovation and continuous improvement
- Quality control in both teaching and learning
10 things you need to know as parents
1 How does Kids&Us set children on the path to language learning?
At Kids&Us, we believe that there is no better way to immerse children in English than through games, songs and stimulating activities specially designed for each age group. All our activities are designed to consolidate everything that the children have worked on and at the same time, steadily expand on it. In our methodology, nothing happens by chance; everything we do has a solid reason behind it. Every part of the class has the clear goal of achieving communication in English between the children and their fellow classmates as well as with their teacher.
2 What are the objectives at Kids&Us?
From day one, our methodology aims for the children to:
- Learn English naturally, taking full advantage of their innate abilities.
- Have contact with authentic English from the first moment, without adapting or simplifying the language, thus providing the children with a comprehensive and realistic learning experience.
- Assimilate grammatical structures of English naturally and effortlessly.
- Be able to express themselves in English.
- Speak with correct pronunciation and with little interference from their native language.
- Develop good oral comprehension despite not understanding every word.
- Find learning English easy in general.
3 What levels are there at Kids&Us?
Kids&Us does not make a distinction between levels of English, just as there are no levels in first language acquisition. When talking in our own language to a one-year-old child, it would be ludicrous to think, ‘He is just one year old, so I am going to use simple verbs or speak only in the present tense.’ What would happen if we did employ this strategy? At three years old, boys and girls would not be nearly as linguistically competent as they normally are at that age because the language that they would use would be limited and inaccurate. If this is the case with our own mother tongue and we aim for our children to be competent in a second language, then why should we approach English any differently?
4 How many days a week do children come to class?
Until the age of two, boys and girls come to a 45 minute class once a week. From the age of three and until they start to read and write, they come once a week and the class lasts for an hour. In the course where they start to read and write in English, the weekly class lasts for an hour and a half. From that moment onwards, students come to class twice a week. The classes last for an hour and will increase to an hour and a half for the older students.
5 Why do they have to listen to the audio track every day?
We firmly believe that continuous exposure to the language is fundamental for learning and understanding. By repeatedly listening to the audio track, children steadily record a great number of words and structures in their brain. The advantage of this is when they hear or work on the terms later on in class, they can identify and reproduce them much more easily than if they had not heard them beforehand. Moreover, children become used to English pronunciation through listening and their comprehension becomes more accurate.
6 How and when should they listen to the audio track?
Children take home a booklet for colouring and an audio track for listening. The track that they work on at home lasts for about ten minutes. Each time they listen to the audio track, the children have to colour in or cross out an animal in their booklet. The audio track can be listened to at any time of the day and while they are involved in any other activity with the exception of watching television. It is important to find a moment when they can listen to the audio track at the same time every day so that it becomes part of their daily routine (during breakfast, before going to bed, etc.).
7 What would happen if a child did not listen to the audio track every day?
The methodology becomes less effective if they do not listen to the audio track. In addition, the classes are designed to carry out activities based on the language and vocabulary which the children have already become familiar with at home. As a result, if a child never listens to the audio track, they may feel lost in the class and can consequently become unmotivated.
8 Do parents need to have a good level of English?
No, it is not necessary. They only need to ensure that the children listen to the audio track every day.
9 Do they learn the same things as they do at school?
At Kids&Us, the children do not learn the same things as they do at school. The methodology could not be more different. Our methodology is based on complete linguistic immersion and comprehensive language acquisition. Grammatical structures and vocabulary cannot be learnt in isolation but rather in real contexts. Moreover, we take full advantage of the fact that we work with smaller groups in order to promote and provide more opportunities for oral expression.
10 Why do they learn to read and write later than they do at school?
Our experience clearly shows that the acquisition of literacy in English is much more successful and much less taxing if the child has been exposed to a rich oral input before learning to write. In fact, in our mother tongue, we do not start to speak, read and write at the same time, but rather, we learn to communicate using our oral and aural abilities and subsequently, we learn to read and write it. We firmly believe that it is more natural and productive to strengthen comprehension and oral expression during the first few years of learning English.