Frequently Asked Questions
   
 
 

 

How many lessons are there to a littlefolks course?
Courses usually consist of 15 lessons of 45 minutes per semester. They take place once a week. – During school holidays there are no lessons.

 

What age ranges does littlefolks cater for?
littlefolks caters for children from the age of three to four years. As a rule children attend courses to the end of their time at primary school.
(cf. also: My child learns English at primary school. Does it make sense to have additional English lessons?)
Additonally littlefolks offers courses for secondary school pupils and for adult learners. There is no age limit for adult learners.

 

Do courses continue during school holidays?
During school holidays there are no lessons.

 

...and what if my child suddenly wants to drop out in the middle of a course?
For all kindergarten children: The complete course fee will be reimbursed if a child wants to drop out after the first lesson.
Up to and including the sixth lesson, littlefolks will refund course fees proportionally: Attendance of two lessons will lead to a reimbursement of 12/15 of the course fee. The attendance of three lessons leads to a refund of 11/15 etc., the attendance of six lessons to a refund of 8/15.
littlefolks will not reimburse any part of the course fee if a child drops out at any time after the seventh lesson.
For all other courses: The complete course fee will be reimbursed if a participant wants to drop out after the first lesson.
littlefolks will not reimburse participants who drop out at any later time.

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For how long must I enrol my child at littlefolks?
For one single course only. (cf. also: … and what if my child suddenly wants to drop out in the middle of a course?)
Each further course requires a new written enrolment.
No written or oral notice of termination is needed at the end of a course.

 

When is the course fee payable?
Course fees, together with the additonal cost for the coursebook (if applicable), are due with the written enrolment at the beginning of a course.

 

Is there an age particulary suited for learning a foreign language?
Opinions differ, even among experts of foreign language learning.
However, despite the contradictory opinions, everyone agrees that young children in particular are receptive for foreign languages if the classes offered are based on age-appropriate and sound methodological principles.
Through language learning, young children not only acquire a positive attitude to all things new and ‘foreign’. They also acquire strategies and skills that will be helpful in all later language learning. They learn, for example, how to pay attention to facial expression, to gesture as well as to the situational context in order to infer what is being communicated. Furthermore, young learners find it easy to acquire appropriate facial expressions, gestures and intonation.

How do young learners learn a foreign language?
To date, nobody really knows for certain what exactly happens when a foreign language is being acquired. There is, however, evidence that seems to indicate how children learn and how they do not learn a new language.
It is, for example, quite evident that a foreign language is not acquired – not just by young learners – by learning words and grammar in the hope that they will be able to apply this knowledge in an appropriate situation.
All evidence suggests that young learners learn a foreign language much as they learn their own mother tongue. They ‘meet’ the language in use in different situations. All aspects of a complex communicative situation (the environment, the objects used, the people, their facial expression, gestures, the language: intonation, accent and timbre, words and structure) contribute to ‘meaning-making’ and all these aspects must be taken into consideration when learners begin to make meaning of communicative situations.
At the beginning of this learning process the methodological design (planning and implementation) of a situation is of utmost importance. Through this design, learners are given the opportunity to infer meaning and to ‘test’ – through their own non-verbal and verbal behaviour as well as with the help of the teacher – if their assumptions are appropriate. The very first non-verbal attempts to engage in communication are succeeded by ‘braver’ attempts: Children begin to ‘test’ their understanding through verbal foreign language behaviour, often still mixed with their mother tongue. A well-planned lesson design will encourage young learners to gradually experiment more and more with the language they have at hand. More extrovert children tend to use the foreign language sooner than those that are a little bit shy. This must not be interpreted as a sign of children having more or having less language learning aptitude. Some children are happy observing the language behaviour of others for a longer time only to prove equally communicative as those children who started speaking at an earlier stage. – All in all, this process can be compared with children beginning to use their mother tongue or beginning to walk. Some children simply need a little more time to achieve the same skills.

 

Do 3- to 4-year-old children need a different lesson-design to children aged 4 to 5?
Yes, they do. – At the age of 3 to 4 most children show signs of rapid personal development: Through their first experiences at kindergarten (and at littlefolks) they acquire new social and motor skills that are of great importance for all later learning. An age-appropriate lesson design is therefore even more important than it is for older children. The very spontaneous behaviour of these young children asks for a particular sensitivity and language competence on the part of the teacher so that child-oriented learning can be initiated and sustained.
Children who are even only slightly older have already experienced how to behave in groups outside the family. They feel happier when the playful approach adopted for younger children is complemented by elements that give more structure to the lesson. This is, of course, also due to their more advanced cognitive development.

Does it make sense to have 4- and 6-year-old children in one group?
From my experience I must say that as a rule it does not make sense to have children aged 4 and 6 in one group. Usually a 6-year-old child is in the process of learning to read and write at primary school. As children do not see a great difference between their mother tongue and a foreign language, they will want to do the same things in the foreign language. littlefolks lessons cater for this demand: Very gradually and carefully children are given the chance to recognize written words and later to write these words. This would in most cases be asking too much from children aged four. On the other hand, older children do not feel sufficiently challenged if this element is missing. In both cases this could lead to an aversion to the foreign language – a situation that surely nobody wants.
(cf. also: Do 3- to 4-year-old children need a different lesson-design to children aged 4 to 5?)

 

My child is learning English at primary school. Will problems arise if s/he attends additional littlefolks English lessons?
In my experience the exact opposite is true. Probably this is so because quite consciously materials used in formal primary education are not used in littlefolks lessons. littlefolks lessons for primary school children are taught in such a way that all kinds of children profit. Children who are a little shy usually feel more confident in the small littlefolks groups and tend to seize the opportunities that arise out of this. They actively use the language they have learnt at school and at littlefolks to get feedback for themselves and thereby gain greater confidence. Those children who already feel confident in the foreign language readily use the opportunities they have to develop their language competence. In this way, both groups of children profit from additional English lessons at littlefolks.

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How can I support my child in her/his learning?
The most support you can possibly give comes from showing interest in the products that have arisen out of littlefolks lessons. Look at the results of the lessons together with your child, talk about them, talk about what your child has done/experienced in the lessons (stories, songs, rhymes, games etc) – in your mother tongue. In such conversations children often remember different situations in the lesson and these memories often trigger off further associations. This will often lead to your child using the English s/he has learnt – do not worry if English is mixed with the mother tongue (‘Das ist a car.’) Appreciate all your child’s foreign language use and give her/him positive feedback and the feeling that s/he has some command over the language. Nothing is ever wrong – there are no mistakes at this stage of learning.
Please do not expect too much too soon. You yourself know your child best and are well aware when your child is ready to communicate about what s/he has experienced in the lesson. (Some children want to tell their parents immediately after the lesson, others need to digest the experiences for themselves before they can talk about them.)
Some children enjoy singing the songs they have learnt – don’t be shy, join in as much and as well as you can. Allow your child to teach you a song.
By all means, refrain from ‘testing’ your child: What have you learnt? Say something in English. Show me what you can say in English. What does that mean in English? Don’t ‘test vocabulary’.
(cf. also: How do young children learn a foreign language?)

 

My child is learning Latin/French in Orientierungsstufe. Does it make sense to attend additional littlefolks English lessons?
Experience shows that children can easily and successfully cope with an additional foreign language while they are doing Latin or another foreign language. It is, however, of great importance that it is the child’s wish to attend additional English lessons. Nothing would be more detrimental to the child’s further learning than additional lessons that a child only attends to please its parents or grandparents.
(cf. also: My child is learning English in Orientierungsstufe. Does it make sense to attend additional littlefolks English lessons?)

 

My child is learning English in Orientierungsstufe. Does it make sense to attend additional littlefolks English lessons (no speccific coaching)?
Yes. – littlefolks caters for two groups for whom it is well worth attending littlefolks classes. There is the group of children who have had previous learning experiences at littlefolks. There is a second group of children who have not attended littlefolks courses. Both groups profit from additional littlefolks courses in different ways. Here it is important to remember that littlefolks courses complement the children’s learning at school – there is no competition between the two settings. littlefolks courses tend to be more topic- and project-oriented than lessons at school. This often boosts the children’s awareness of what they can do and cope with already.
It is important to know that these courses steer clear of the textbooks used at school and that they cannot be compared with subject-specific coaching.
(cf. also: Does littlefolks also offer subject-specific coaching?
and: My child is learning Latin/French in Orientierungsstufe. Does it make sense to attend additional littlefolks English lessons?)

 

Does littlefolks also offer subject-specific coaching?
Yes, but only very sparingly. littlefolks does in rare cases offer private and group coaching for Years 5 to 13 of all types of schools.
(cf. also: Courses: Clubs)