»What an adventure!!«

My name is Monique Wengler. I was born on one of two tiny islands in the Caribbean calledTrinidad and Tobago and was lucky to have lived in many countries... Barbados, Canada, Englandand now, in Germany. I have been living and working here for 25 years.I started teaching at adult institutes such as Berlitz and inLingua (where I still currently work). I gotan opportunity to work at a bilingual kindergarten for 2 years before joining this fabulous projectthat the gmbH Bilinguale Erziehung Lübeck started. They hired a native speaker for the FalkenfeldGrundschule to offer English from day 1 (year 1 and onwards) so that they are exposed to thelanguage from year 1 and 2 instead of waiting until year 3 when they get it offered as a subject intheir curriculum.The first thing I have to say is that the kids are amazing and fill my soul with love and happiness ...and I hope that they feel the same about me. With this approach and with a feeling of friendship,my aim is to bond with the children and help them to realize / learn that there are many similarwords in English and in German. The concept is to introduce as much as possible withoutoverwhelming them.I am very lucky as there are many kids who have had some experience with the English languagethrough their parents or through the media. After only 6 months, I am able to have “full-on”conversations with kids in the school. Other children benefit from these conversations as they areprepared to take risks by speaking English as well.Their excitement at the possibilities of understanding more in the world of English is so contagious.And their joy of success in informing me what the word is in English lights up my inner child.Seeing that there is always room to converse with the kids, we also talk about respect for oneanother, for adults and teachers, and for living things (animals, nature, etc..). We talk about how wecan make this world a better place. And the fact that we have bonded, allows the children to feelcomfortable in confiding in me about their fears and their worries. As a method of teaching themmore English, I usually repeat what they have said in a rhetorical manner so that they can hear whatthey said, but in English.As part of my job, I am also present in the OGS (Offene Ganztagsschule) where they are able tolearn English through play and arts and crafts and obviously through doing home-work together..My career as a musician also gives us the opportunity to learn through song. I would like to do morework in that area but that will come in time. This is a pioneer project and I think we are on the righttrack for exposing the children to English in a manner that is easy-going and fun. Thankfully, mycolleagues at Falkenfeld Schule and OGS are supportive and willing to share their time with me onthis adventure. Afterall, they benefit from having a native speaker around as well. :)

Henriette Kohnert
Monique Wengler
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