Well whoever thinks teaching little kids is easier than older is sadly mistaken. Wow! It has been only 3 mornings in the classroom and I am shattered!

My first morning I took a backseat and watched to see how things went in the classroom, with less than 1.5 hours of actual teaching this would be a walk in the park. But discovering the kids (aged between 3 and 6) speak very little English and are still learning to write the basics in Indonesian, my planned thoughts of teaching them some basic poetry like I did in Nepal had to be thrown out the window (see I really haven’t taught kids this young English before).

Working hard

After three days teaching youngsters I have learnt it is all about songs, poems, rhymes, games and lots of colour and drawings. And rather a lot of repetition. I have just finished day three and am just about in the swing of things. Sadly the school closes for holidays next week so I only have a couple of days left, but hopefully I will have left them with a few more songs to sing each day and memories of a crazy English girl dancing like a madwoman in the middle of class.

The kids are adorable, their inquisitive looks and eagerness to please can’t help but put a constant smile on your face in the classroom.

Below are the basics of the lessons I did with the children. These are for children who are beginners to English. For ideas for more advanced English learners see my Nepal post.

Lesson 1 – Family

I started with showing them pictures of my family to help them understand, plus photos of life back home will always interest and entertain.

I got the children to repeat each word several times (focusing on the basics, mother, father, brother, sister and me) as I held up the photos.

*speak slowly so they can get the pronunciation right and even repeating 10+ times isn’t too much*

I then drew ‘amazing’ art work (stick figures) on the board and labelled in both Indonesian and English and asked them to copy in their book.

NB: I had a teacher who was translating instructions for the children, if you are alone and don’t speak the language things will have to be even slower and clear instructions shown.

After break I repeated the words we had learnt and then it was song time! I couldn’t think of any that had all family names in it so opted for the Barney song ‘I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family’ which on day three they have almost got the hang of, but still we sing together a couple of times each day.

Day 2 – Body Parts

They already knew the song ‘head, shoulders knees and toes…’ so I used this to expand on other body parts and have a bit of fun.

Sticking sheets of paper together to make one giant sheet (you could just find a giant sheet of paper) I got one of the children to lie down as I drew around him. I then got the class to take it turns to draw on a different body part as I shouted them out ie. Eyes and they draw on the eyes. I expanded beyond those in the song to include a few more, fingers, feet etc. *Thanks to SL Volunteers for this suggestion.

Body Parts

Next they drew the person in their book, with labels. (some of the younger kids just drew the picture as labelling was a bit much).

Then we sang ‘head, shoulder, knees and toes’ a few more times, but with leaving out one of the words each round. E.g. *silence* shoulders, knees and toes

Day 3 – Numbers

Most of the children already knew numbers 1-10 and depending on their knowledge you can change these games to include bigger numbers.

  • Great song for learning numbers 
  • Stand in a circle and count around the circle, as high as the children can manage, get louder, faster, slower, quieter etc.
  • Put music on and get the children to dance, when the music stops shout out a number and they have to get into groups of that number
  • Shout out a number and they have to jump that many times, counting as they jump
Counting in a circle

After the number games they each wrote the numbers, the English word and smily faces for that number in their book. E.g 1, One, 🙂

It has been a fun few days and I look forward to some sports games and Christmas decoration making before I leave.

I am currently volunteering with The Bali Children’s Project (BCP). If you are interested in volunteering with them follow the link or feel free to contact me with questions. More information on BCP coming soon.

Dancing time


    • vaddict Reply

      Nothing official, except a linguistics degree where I did some TEFL modules

  1. Good stuff, Jen, thanks for sharing, It takes some courage to teach kids another language. I am sure they are really excited to have you there, and they tell their families about their fun teacher!

  2. I’ll be keeping up with this as I’ve lately been on the hunt for volunteer programs. I’m TEFL certified but have never actually used it! Looking forward to your post about the program.

    • Jen Lowthrop Reply

      Hi Jess, I did this a while back, there are a few more posts about my teaching experiences in Bali. If you have any questions or are interested in finding about more about where I volunteered then please do get in touch.



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