English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes are held during the school day for students who need extra help with their listening, speaking, reading and writing of English.

The government provides funding for the school to deliver lessons for students who are either migrants or New Zealanders born to migrant parents.

Students are withdrawn from their home classroom for approximately 1 ½ hours per week in small groups of 5-8 children. This gives students the opportunity to practice English skills in a small supportive environment and to take these skills back to their home classroom to contribute and feel more confident.

If students are in Year 1 we give them 6 months to settle into their home class and the New Zealand schooling system before regularly withdrawing them.

We encourage families to keep up their child’s learning of their home language with the ultimate goal for students to be fluently bilingual.

Acquiring a second language is a long and complex process. It takes from five to seven years for most children to become proficient in a second language.

Children often acquire conversational competence in their second language within a year or two of learning the new language. This is called basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS). This is where children can engage in small talk such as greeting others and talking about the weather.

It takes many more years (between five and seven) to acquire academic competence in a new language. This is called cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). This is a lot harder as the language could be new in topics such as science, social studies and mathematics.

A child’s competence in their first language significantly affects the amount of time it takes for them to become proficient in their second language. Children who arrive at school with a strong command of their first language and a developed range of concepts in that language are in a very good position to learn English.

Mrs. Lynette Williams and Mrs. Nikki Monson are Wakaaranga’s ESOL teachers.