Back to school tips to help bilingual learners

Getting ready for back-to-school can be an exciting time for young children, especially for bilingual learners. There’s so much to consider when a bilingual student begins school.

How to get ready can ease the tension and anxiety that many bilingual learners may experience.

Back to School Tips to Get Ready

You can quickly begin a back-to-school routine with a practice schedule.

  • For instance, create a mock schedule of the times and days that your bilingual learner might have during the school year.
  • Next, make copies of the schedule and place them around your home.
  • For example, you can start by placing them in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, or a command area.

A command area is where you most frequently place your items like backpacks, purses, keys, and mail. Many command areas are foyer areas, mudrooms, or entryways.

For most families, this area helps them stay organized and be ready in the morning. 

Practice Tips Before Back to School 

Once you establish a routine for back to school, start to review bilingual vocabulary and numbers.

For example, you can start with 10 – 15 minutes a day using color-by-number or tracing shapes worksheets to practice number identification and vocabulary. After that, you can transition to more time, increasing time by 5 or 10 minutes. 

Create a Fun Game of Sorting

While categorizing items might not be a favorite activity, use a fun game to engage your bilingual learner.

  • First, use the sorting free worksheet and print on color paper or card stock. 
  • Cut each piece and set them aside.
  • Then, ask your bilingual learner to sort the pieces by food items.
  • Or, you can ask to sort by clothing.
  • Either way, your bilingual learner can practice distinguishing between food items and clothing. 

Sorting Using Other Categories

Another back-to-school tip is to use a fun game of sorting is to use shapes, grouping, and temperature.

  • For instance, you can use the free matching and sorting worksheet.
  • Similar to the previous game, you can print the sheet on color paper.
  • Then, laminate the pieces.
  • Optional: use packing tape to function as a dry-erase surface.
  • Next, use a dry-erase marker to discuss each category.
  • For example, you might want to talk about round shapes.
  • Then, you can ask your bilingual learner which items have a round shape?

In this way, you can discuss differences between categories and similarities between objects. 

Identifying Patterns and Following Directions

One of the most challenging aspects of back to school is to teach young children to follow directions. While most children would know to follow step one to the next, other children may find it difficult.

For bilingual learners, they might need extra support when it comes to patterns and directions.

  • To help with these concepts, you can use the free pattern and direction worksheet.
  • As mentioned before, you can print these sheets on color paper or card-stock paper.
  • Next, laminate the sheets or use packing tape as instructed earlier.
  • By laminating the cards, your bilingual learner can practice many times without the need to make multiple copies.

Also, there are everyday clothing items like socks, scarves, and sweaters on each task card. So, you could use these items and practice with actual pieces.

Identifying these patterns and recognizing to follow directions helps children make sense of how specific events occur. 

In conclusion, many back-to-school tips can help you get ready. For bilingual learners, they might need extra support.

By using rehearsal and review approaches, you could ease the tension and anxiety for bilingual learners. Practice with your bilingual learner these back-to-school tips to start a smooth school year.