My first blog post- The story behind Language Clubhouse

By Becky Luoma

I’ve often heard feedback from parents who’ve stated: “Wow, my child is singing in English at home” or “My child knows the names of colors in the English language better than in Finnish.” This is both exciting and encouraging to me and I’ve realized that language learning isn’t only confined to the classroom but can be practiced and developed in the home. It isn’t the easiest of tasks to introduce and teach a foreign language to young children. This is because of the diversity of group dynamics in the preschool and kindergarten levels as well as the availability of resources. In order to facilitate quality teaching it is imperative that we keep our young children motivated and eager for secondary language learning. 

When I moved to Finland over 16 years ago, I listened and observed that adults spoke English quite well. However, I discovered that they had inadequate training and poor experiences while attempting to learn English language.  They intimated to me that the style and approach to learning English language was stiff and formal resulting in a reluctance to participate in English lessons. They were made to feel afraid and feared making mistakes while learning and speaking English. Because of these negative experiences parents nowadays want their children to begin learning the English language at an early age in a non judgmental and non intimidating environment, one which fosters encouragement, excitement and willing participation by the children.

Not long after moving to Finland, I began providing private lessons to children in their own homes teaching them English. It was about a year later that I started and developed English Clubs for young children. I quickly realized that the little ones are truly excited to learn English alongside their peers in a fun filled environment amidst social interactions. This approach was further validated through my experiences working in preschool with young children. I observed that the children get excited and are encouraged to learn and speak English through various groups methods, ie…singing songs, playing games, movement rhymes, multiple activities as well as other traditional methods.

Singing short repetitive songs along with movements make language learning fun. The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see!

It was trying and time consuming to say the least, attempting to put together a diverse and sustainable curriculum for teaching. Attempting to approach the task by taking bits and pieces of educational information and materials from numerous and varied sources and adapting them into the classroom curriculum wasn’t the answer. I also found that co-workers and parents needed help and support to assist children in their learning adventure and expressed the need for and desired a simple solution. Consequently, I found the need to create a quality program for teachers and parents to assist them in teaching their children English. My desire to help others teach young children English as an additional language in an active way was the catalyst behind my developing and creating the Language Clubhouse.

The Language Clubhouse is an online program and curriculum that any teacher (native English speaker or not) can start up. They will begin teaching English in a new and fun way, easy for young children to learn and enjoy. The Language Clubhouse provides all the tools and materials necessary to implement successful early English language learning. Teachers are able to use our language learning platform with its complete clear learning objectives and goals to take into the classroom and be successful. We have provided the program and teaching techniques to teach the young child English, however, and most importantly, it is up the teacher to excite and ignite their students with a desire to learn a foreign language. It is that teacher who can see through the eyes of a child and reach them at their level who will be successful. Along with a joyful and positive pedagogical approach, teaching a foreign language is indeed fun as well as rewarding. 

Best wishes to you and your students as you experience many happy and fun learning moments together! – Becky Luoma, CEO and Co-founder of Language Clubhouse