Foundation to Year 2 Band Description
The nature of the learners
Children enter the early years of schooling with established communication skills in one or more languages and varying degrees of early literacy capability. For young students, learning typically focuses on their immediate world of family, home, school, friends and neighbourhood. They are learning how to socialise with new people, share with others, and participate in structured routines and activities at school. Typically they have little to no experience of Italian language and culture.
Italian language learning and use
Students use Italian for social interactions such as greetings, asking and answering simple questions, responding to instructions, singing songs, and taking turns in games and simple shared tasks. The focus is on listening to the sounds, shapes and patterns of Italian through activities such as rhymes, songs, clapping and action games. Repetition and recycling help children to identify frequently used words and simple phrases, and to recognise the purpose and intention of simple texts. They identify and use Italian non-verbal communication strategies and experiment with formulaic expressions and one or two-word responses to prompts and cues. Through creative play and action-related talk, children begin to notice that language can behave differently in different situations and that Italian speakers communicate in some ways that are different from their own. Students are encouraged to notice that they are part of a connected world which includes many languages and cultures, and they begin to become aware of themselves as communicators in particular cultural contexts and communities.
Contexts of interaction
Children interact with each other and the teacher, with some access to wider school and community members. Virtual and digital resources provide access to additional Italian language and cultural experiences, connecting learners’ social worlds with those of Italian-speaking children.
Texts and resources
The transition from spoken to written language is scaffolded through shared exploration of simple texts and language features. Children progress from supported comprehension and a small number of high-frequency and personally significant sight words and phrases to more elaborated simple texts which include a context, purpose and audience. They use grapho-phonic, grammatical, cultural and contextual cues to comprehend texts and communicative interactions. Writing skills progress from labelling and copying words, to writing simple texts using familiar vocabulary, and language structures and features. Written texts that students experience include children’s stories, big books, descriptions, recounts and labels.
Features of Italian language use
Students focus on the sounds of the alphabet, in particular the vowel sounds, and ‘c’ (ciao) and ‘ch’ (Chi?), and on intonation patterns and the use of accents. Students are also introduced to nouns and pronouns. They learn simple sentence structure using subject–verb–object order as well as how to form questions. They explore the idea of masculine and feminine gender, how to use singular and plural forms, the negative form non and the placement of adjectives.
Level of support
Students’ learning is highly experiential and activity-related, and is supported by the use of concrete materials and resources, visual supports, gestures and body language. Scaffolding includes modelling, monitoring and moderating by the teacher; provision of multiple and varied sources of input; opportunities for revisiting, recycling and reviewing; and continuous cues, feedback and encouragement.
The role of English
Children are encouraged to use Italian whenever possible. They use English to talk about differences and similarities they notice between Italian, English and other known; about how they feel when they hear or use Italian; and about how they view different languages and the people who speak them. English is used by both the teacher and learners for talking about the language and about learning, and for noticing, questioning and explaining.