Activities for Very Young Learners

Oct 16, 2021

Over the past two years, I have been reading so many great books that have helped me improve as a teacher. I currently have many many more on my “to read” list but I wanted to let you know about some of the ones I have read so far and who I think they might be helpful for.

Teaching Foundation and Junior Primary (5-8 yr olds)

I have found this book super helpful for ideas for games, songs, movement and activities for my youngest learners. It covers classroom management, stories and story-telling, as well as arts and craft ideas. If teaching young children is something you don’t feel strong in, then this book is full of handy hints and useful activities.

It’s one negative is that it is written for teachers of English, so games and activities will have to be translated into Indonesian yourself, however, most games are easy to translate and work just as well.

“Teaching very young learners is about being sensitive to the needs and development of the whole child. It involves providing routines and activities in a meaningful and engaging way within a safe, structured and learning-centred environment.”

(Puchta & Elliot 2017:14)

With a whole chapter on class routines and classroom management, this book has so many activities and ideas for engaging your class and bringing into your classroom practice the routine and structures that are needed to provide a safe, predictable and enjoyable place for your students.

“One of the biggest challenges facing teachers of very young learners is capturing and maintaining the attention of our students”

(Puchta & Elliot 2017:31)


See book on

With short attention spans, keeping the lesson engaging and moving, while providing routine and structure is a delicate balance. Students love watching little Youtube clips from Bibitsku or Lagu Indonesia, and even information slips about Indonesian culture or animals. Moving around to these or other games can make sure your students are moving as they learn. This book has so many ideas.

“Scaffolding is one of the most important teacher interventions when working with very young learners. A child will be able to say on their own tomorrow what they are able to say with the teachers help today.”

(Puchta & Elliot 2017:14)

It is so encouraging to read a book that shows how engaging language learning can be for young students. I have heard so many specialist teachers that struggle with knowing how to teach Foundation and what to do with such young children, and I think a book like this gives teachers a framework to build on. It has a chapter about Movement and games, a chapter on songs chants and rhymes as well as a chapter on Arts, crafts and displays.

“In addition to having a solid level of linguistic and methodological competence, the teacher of very young learners needs to have an awareness of the learning and development opportunities that the shared space of the classroom offers, thus being an educator as much as a language teacher.”

(Puchta & Elliot 2017:14)

The final chapter talks about pronunciation and early literacy. While talking about teaching English, the strategies games and activities are important when we teach Indonesian as well. If you need a framework for ideas and activities for teaching, or are overwhelmed at the possibility of having to teach the younger years than I would definitely recommend this book.

Selamat Mengajar

Ibu Tasya

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