Teaching a second language to preschoolers confronts you with different challenges.
First of all, you need to get their attention and keep them motivated. The only way to achieve this is to present them to the things they like, which sounds easier than it is.
In the second place, you are dealing with children that are just starting to develop their verbal skills, and find hard to manage abstract concepts. Therefore, your imagination and creativity will be your best tools to capture their attention in a way that results to be both entertaining and educative. Let’s mention a few ideas that will be of much help to you.
Observe and follow. It will always be positive to add new activities and games in the class, but to start up, begin taking firm steps and start with the games you know the kids already know and enjoy in their native tongue. This first part of the adaptation process will be only on one aspect, they will try to adapt to the new language to enjoy an activity they already know they will have fun with. Once they feel more comfortable with the new language and considering how short their attention span is, you should move on and suggest variations to that game and keep them motivated.
Build confidence in the young learners. Ask them questions and expect simple answers, and when an answer is given do not hesitate to correct it gently. Show that you understood in the first place, that they are actually communicating, so do it repeating the answer you were given but adding the necessary corrections or rephrasing what the kid just told. If told, for example “ My name Tom” you can simply nod and say “yes, your name IS Tom, and my name IS xxx”. This way you are reinforcing the children that they are on the good path, and also correcting the mistakes.
Encourage group interaction. Do not make it a relationship between the teacher and the group or the teacher and each student. On the contrary, you shall encourage group communication; stimulate the children to make their best to communicate with the classmates in the new tongue. Sit in rounds for example, and start with a question that the children on your right should answer. That kid shall repeat the same question to the kid at his right. Or you can divide the number of students by two colours and yellow group will start asking or telling something or pointing at a body part, and red group will answer, comment or name the pointed part.
Set good bases when starting to work with a group of young children: watch them and follow their interests, build self-esteem on them and stimulate the interaction between the students. Only keeping them interested, secure and part of a whole will assure an individual and group development.