Malay, Chinese, English, Tamil - you name it, and most of the Malaysians can speak in at least these two languages. Besides our first language, we are blessed to have the opportunity to learn English as a second language at school. Here's what the EF English Proficiency Index 2019 told us about the Malaysians' English proficiency level: Malaysians are considered to have high non-native command of English. Most Malaysians can read an English language newspaper, understand a show in English and deliver a presentation in English. As Malaysians, we should not be satisfied with only a high proficiency level. Instead, we should have greater expectations to achieve "very high proficiency" level as our neighbouring country, Singapore. Both you and your children can push Malaysia to a higher rank if your children start off their language learning journey early. About Your Children's Language Development Photo credit to Pexels The earlier your children start to learn a language, the faster and more fluent they will be. At the age of 3, your children can speak with roughly 900 words as their spoken vocabulary. By the age of 6, they have mastered between 8,000 and 14,000 words for their spoken vocabulary. Our children can understand, process and produce language extremely well during their early childhood. To ensure that you do not miss out your children's golden timing to master English, your children can enrol in a suitable enrichment programme. Besides staying interested in learning, your children will receive proper support to learn the language. The proper support includes scaffolding for accurate language production and guidance during language activities. Read on to find out 4 English enrichment programmes that your children can actively involve in their English learning journey. 4 English Enrichment Programmes Available in Malaysia #1: International English Learning Programmes Photo credit to Unsplash No more boring syllabus at school! To enhance our children's English proficiency level, our ministry of education has transformed the school syllabus of English to align to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) standards. Thus, it is certainly an added advantage for your children to attend English learning programmes from International English learning institutions. Looking into the courses offered by the British Council,\u00a0 your children will start with the Primary Plus course. As your children enrol in the Primary Plus course, they learn about the vocabulary of familiar topics through exciting activities and group projects. They will also get the opportunity to express themselves confidently through speaking and writing skills. The course also prepares your children with creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills. This course is available for 5 to 11 years old children. Be well-assured that at the end of this course, your children will achieve a minimum of A2 on the CEFR standards. Your children will also enjoy the perks of online learning with its Primary Plus online portal from the comfort of your home. If you are eager to start your preschooler children early, worry not. The Cambridge English offers the "English for Preschoolers" course for 4 to 6 years old children. Your children will improve their English starting from a young age with engaging and exciting activities. They will enjoy their lessons filled with interesting songs, short stories and games. With this, your children are able to develop their vocabulary, phonics, and motor skills. Moving on to the "English for Primary Students", your children will sit for a placement test to determine their starting point. Then, they will start at any appropriate level - starters, movers and flyers. During the course, your children will learn English step-by-step with songs, games, language presentations, and group projects. Your children can also take the Young Learner English Exams for each level in these four key areas - listening, speaking, reading and writing. #2: Phonics Classes Photo credit to Pixabay Do you know how many sounds are there in English? There are actually 42 letter sounds in English and they are all blended in words. You might ask, what's the big deal about learning the sounds? This is where the phonics classes come in to help your children as young as 3 years old. Your children can spell words better and therefore read and write words faster with phonics classes. With a variety of engaging activities, your children learn to make connection between sounds and spelling. They will also learn to combine sounds to make words and identify and segment sounds in words. By joining the phonics classes, your children can master different spellings that are pronounced the same way and this will certainly help them in reading new words that they encounter daily. If you are interested, you can look for "I Can Read" learning centres that offer courses such as 'I Can Read Discover' and 'I Can Read' for phonics learning. You can reach out to British Council too as they also offer phonics courses for 20 weeks each term, with 2 hours per lesson. #3: Reading Programmes Photo credit to Pexels As your children master the letter sounds and words, they should not stop their English learning journey. They should move on to sentence and paragraph levels. By enrolling in reading programmes such as the "I Can Read Plus" courses by the I Can Read Learning Centre, your children will learn to read fluently with the understanding of the texts. Your children will develop comprehension skills by answering different types of questions. They can also learn new vocabulary through different text types and discussion of the word meanings. In addition, your children will also learn how to use a dictionary to search for word meaning and usage. As their reading skills improve, they are more confident to read materials in English and to use English more often. In the long run, their writing skills will improve too as they have mastered a wide range of vocabulary for their writing pieces. As a start, you can equally become your children's tutor with attractive flashcards at home. You are always the best teacher for your children. #4: Drama and Storytelling Workshops Photo credit to kreedology.com We know that language is not only for formal purposes, it also serves for fun and entertainment too. Get your children to explore the creative side of the English language through some drama and storytelling workshops. Unlike the other English enrichment programmes, the drama and storytelling workshop focuses more on building your children's confidence and expressive communication. With the aid of drama, role play and imagery play, your children will learn about self-creative expression and courage by overcoming stage-fright and stage performance. In the workshops, your children will follow programmes such as vocal and physical warm-ups, presentation skills and communication skills. They will also enjoy exciting activities such as poetry, mime, puppetry, role-play, story-telling, reading aloud and creative writing. If you see your children having the potential of being a theatre star, you can check out workshops by KLPAC or programmes by Julia Gabriel Centre. Never Too Late for An English Enrichment Programme As language develops with frequent use, it is never too late to enrol your children in any English enrichment programmes. To fully develop your children's language abilities, we encourage you to involve in their learning journey. Give them more support and encouragement and try to speak in English with them. Don't make the language practices disconnect between their learning and their communication at home. Remember, practice makes progress. Your children can be the very high proficient individuals that place Malaysia at a higher rank worldwide.