Language Learning and Culture

Our Philosophy

At ESF Kindergarten Tung Chung (TCK) we believe that language is fundamental to communication, learning and thinking therefore it is embedded in everything we do. All teachers in TCK are language teachers. Language is integral to all areas of learning as children learn to use language, learn about language and learn through language.  

“A culture of language learning is foundational to a PYP learning community. Language has the power to bring the learning community closer together and overcome boundaries. It excites and invites communication in many ways, supporting and strengthening relationships and the building of international-mindedness.  Multilingualism is significant in building international-mindedness as it gives students insight into the thinking and perspectives of the self and others. Language enables students to gather and compare points of view, and to show empathy, compassion and respect.” (IB Learning and Teaching – PYP)

We strongly believe that language and culture are very much connected and we must acknowledge children’s diverse cultural backgrounds whilst building an understanding of their experience of different languages.  

“Diversity takes many different forms, and one of the fastest growing student populations is the bilingual/multilingual learner.”  (Harper & De Jong, 2004; McKeon, 2005; Tereshchenko, A., 2014)

“Translanguaging is the process by which language students actively draw on all their linguistic resources to communicate and make meaning (Garcia, Li Wei 2014). – Principles into Practice”

Language Profile of the School

Tung Chung Kindergarten’s population consists of over 19 nationalities speaking more than 7 different languages. We have an international staff of teachers and educational assistants with a wide range of language and cultural backgrounds. 

Before students join, families will receive a language survey and in the first weeks, have an interview with the class teacher. These are for families to share with teachers about their children’s home language practices, talents and interests, to better connect with the families, teachers, and students. 

“Multilingualism is the interplay among languages within a person, with their interactions with others and also with the learning community’s attitudes towards languages. Becoming multilingual is a means through which we deepen our understandings of alternative perspectives and reach out to others. It takes into account the complex reality of our world’s diverse sociocultural contexts.  (IB Learning and Teaching – PYP)


At ESF Tung Chung, children can attend either English stream or Bilingual stream classes. English is the primary language used in the English stream with Mandarin as an additional language taught through play and inquiry. 

In August 2021, TCK launched Bilingual classes in response to growing interest within the parent community.  

We recognise that teaching and learning involves playful inquiry, connection with others and self expression through one or more languages in order for children to develop their sense of belonging and be the best that they can be.  In partnership with children and parents the bilingual class teams engage in learning through learning experiences in  English and Mandarin.  Collaborative practice enables teachers to effectively plan, facilitate and reflect children’s learning.  In our classes we:

  • Establish meaningful relationships within our learning communities
  • Acknowledge and respect different cultures and backgrounds
  • Promote the importance of language acquisition through the power of play
  • Promote the importance of using mother tongue language at home with your child to strengthen the development of other languages

In addition, in bilingual classes we

  • Offer literacy rich environments that reflect both languages
  • Communicate with parents about children’s progress and achievements in their preferred language (English or Mandarin)
  • Provide strategies to parents to support bilingual language development at home

To gain an insight into our Bilingual classes and hear from our teachers we invite you to watch this video.  

One Parent One Language

The most recommended practice is to always remain consistent with the language in which one speaks to a child. In this way the child learns to distinguish between the languages spoken at home, in his environment (when there are more than two languages), and the society at large. Providing this consistency allows the child to learn the language well.  Consistency is crucial for the child to  begin to associate the parent with the individual language and progress is measured by how consequent the parent adheres to this rule.  This rule is therefore known as the” 1 and 1 Rule” or “One Person, One Language Rule”.