From first words to full sentences: A journey to YLE success

From first words to full sentences: A journey to YLE success

Discover an inspiring success story with us! This story proves that even young children can become enthusiastic about learning English and achieve their first certification with ease. Join Tina Steiner, an English teacher, as she shares the journey of her young students.

From first words to full sentences: A journey to YLE success

My little YLE group: Little learners with big dreams

“Ambitious, curious, happy, and full of power” would probably describe my “Little YLE group” which started 4 years ago. A group of Swiss kindergarten kids decided to join a one-hour English lesson every Wednesday afternoon. Or more accurately, their parents signed them up, but the kids right away showed incredible interest in learning a different and new language.

My little YLE group: Little learners with big dreams

Dynamic classroom adventures: Learning English through play and practice

Games, songs, poems, and a variety of fun activities filled our lessons. “Learning by doing” was also a big part of the YLE preparation. It was incredible to see how fast their vocabulary and communication skills have increased. Colouring Easter eggs when we learned the colours, baking cookies when we learned about food and kitchen utensils, or creating our own world map while learning about the continents and different countries and cultures had a major impact on using the language in a very natural way.

Dynamic Classroom Adventures: Learning English Through Play and Practice

Not even a worldwide epidemic stopped us from having our lessons once a week- online. We always adhered to our two classroom rules: always help one another and consistently speak in full sentences.

I have never accepted a one-word vocabulary translation. For example, when I showed them a flashcard of a dog, they would point at the dog and say: 'This is a brown dog his name is Joey!' I was and always will remain very consistent with those two rules! To me, those rules are a game-changer in a classroom! No one ever feels scared to speak in class because they have the assurance that they are in a safe place. They always make proper, full sentences and can soon have small conversations. In my opinion, a huge vocabulary is essential to learning a language, but what do 5,000 single words help if you aren’t capable of creating a meaningful sentence?

Preparing for success

Once they started to read and write at school, we used our first 'YLE Students book'; they felt very proud using it. Soon I started with some sample papers, focusing specifically on their Starters vocabulary and their speaking skills. And soon I felt they were ready to be enrolled for the Cambridge Pre A1-A2 Young Learners (YLE) exam. This was an easy online procedure with Swiss Exams in Winterthur.

The big exam day

January 17th , 2024 was their big day. We travelled to Winterthur together, where very friendly staff and many other kids were waiting. My students had to sign in at the check-in desk with a valid ID and their Statement of Entry, which was sent to me along with the invitation and rules to be followed on the exam day. We discussed them in class a week before the exam. They were nervous, proud, and very excited. First, they took their speaking test, followed by the listening and the reading and writing paper.

The big exam day

Celebrating Success: Post-examination reflections and ceremony

I had three very happy kids in the back of my car. Although they felt the exam went smoothly and was fairly easy, they realised that some of their answers might have been wrong.

Every week during our lesson, they would ask if or when the results would come!

And then finally, the day came... I invited all the parents for a little 'Certificate Ceremony'. I ordered three graduation hats with tassels. If we do it, we might as well do it right. All three students received their Pre A1-A2 Young Learners (YLE) certificate with the highest possible score. Not only were the students very proud, but the parents also left for the long Easter weekend feeling proud.

It was such a special journey, and we are all looking forward to getting started with our YLE Movers preparation after Easter.

Tina Steiner, English teacher

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