Tips for Teaching English in Chinese Preschools and Kindergartens


  • Preschoolers have short attention spans, so change activities every 5 to 10 minutes. If you stay longer than 10 minutes in one activity, your students very well may become restless and you’ll end up spending all your time just trying to hold their attention.
  • Introduce only a little bit of new vocabulary in each class. For preschoolers and kindergarteners, attempt to present three words and then perhaps add additional words if you see that your students understand the words you already introduced. Also, regularly review and use vocab you taught in previous lessons.
  • Engage multiple senses of your students. This includes fine and large motor movement, talking, singing, looking, and listening. For instance, have the children walk around the space and then stand next to an image or thing you said. In this example, you’d  be teaching them through listening, looking and moving.
  • Little kids can get extremely excitable. Alternate between active and quiet games to help prevent over-excitement and unruliness.
  • Competition in preschool classes can cause undo stress, so avoid games and activities with winners and losers.
  • Young children are extremely visual. Bring in real-life items (realia) as often as possible. When you can’t, use vibrant, colorful pictures to use instead of the real object.
  • Preschool students generally can’t read and write in their first language, so don’t rush them to learn to do it in English. During this developmental stage they will only listen and comprehend first and then later they will start speaking words and simple phrases. Don’t expect preschool kids to actually speak the words right away.
  • Group vocabulary lessons into themes such as the weather, foods, colors, numbers, animals, furniture, and body parts. Later, start teaching short phrases that pertain to your theme.
  • Don’t give preschoolers too much “down time” in between activities. Also, be sure you have all your supplies and activities ready to begin as soon as the children arrive. Also, plan more activities than you believe you’ll have time for. Sometimes an activity just won’t work for your class or you’ll finish it more quickly than you expect. If a game seems to be a fail, put it away for a while but later on still give it another shot.
  • When you have an especially naughty or hyper student, keep them close by. Ask them to be your helper and provide positive reinforcement when they behave appropriately.
  • Mix it up. Don’t utilize the same game too often, or play a game too long. You’ll get tired of it just like your students will.  The best games are ones that can be adapted to the topic you’re teaching.
  • Above all, have a good time with your young students. If you and your students are having fun while playing English games and listening to English stories, the children are going to learn.