Small World Play Cover

Small World Play

Creative ideas and activities to support development in the early years

Small World Play describes the different types of small world play – with toys, models, puzzles, construction kits and recycled materials. It explains how to introduce children to small world play and encourage confident creative and imaginative thinking skills. It also describes how to inspire interesting ideas and challenges to engage and motivate children of all ages and ability levels and includes links to the EYLF and the characteristics of effective learning.

Ages: 1-5 | Pages: 80 | Code: TS0311 | ISBN: 9781925145427

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Debbie Chalmers

Debbie Chalmers was a highly-experienced drama teacher and consultant and a writer of textbooks for early years and primary education in the United Kingdom. Sadly, Debbie passed away in February 2019, aged 52.
Picture of Kay Margetts

Kay Margetts

Kay is currently an Honorary Associate Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She has a strong background in early childhood development, learning and teaching both as a practitioner and as an academic. Her main areas of research are transition and adjustment to school, accompanied by a strong record of publications. Kay is regularly engaged in knowledge exchange activities with the education sector including teachers, educators and parents.


About this book6
The national picture6
What does this mean for your work with young children?8
Settings used for case studies10
Brief outline of each chapter11
Chapter one: EAL essentials13
What does EAL mean?13
Groups of EAL learners14
What is bilingualism?15
Key EAL matters16
Chapter two: How children learn languages22
First language acquisition23
Learning two languages simultaneously25
How do children learn an additional language?26
Stages of additional language acquisition27
Factors that impact on additional language learning29
Differences between languages30
Chapter three: Helping children to settle in33
Before the child starts33
The child’s first day37
The child’s first few weeks40
Chapter four: Creating a suitable environment43
Communication-friendly spaces43
Making the environment suitable for EAL learners44
Chapter five: Adult–child interaction54
Key principles for quality adult–child interaction55
Interacting with simultaneous learners (under 3 years)57
Interacting with children who are new to English57
Interacting with a child during the “silent period”61
Providing opportunities for children to use their home language62
The importance of play64
Cultural differences in play65
EAL language programs65
Chapter six: Building positive relationships with families and carers66
Developing partnership working with families67
What does a good relationship between a family and an educator look like?67
General advice to promote good relationship building67
Potential challenges to partnership working69
Overcoming potential challenges69
Key messages to give to families72
Working with interpreters74
Chapter seven: Observation, assessment and planning75
Involving families in the observation, assessment and planning cycle78
Assessment before transition to school80
Chapter eight: Working with children with communication difficulties84
Understanding language, speech and communication needs85
Identifying communication difficulties in EAL learners90
Supporting EAL learners with language, speech and communication needs94
Home activity sheets99
Checklist for pre-start family meeting106
Checklist for determining a child’s skills in their home language110