Suzanne Haigh is the Headteacher of Kensington Wade School, an award-winning, bilingual nursery and prep school in West London. At Kensington Wade lessons are taught in English and Chinese, giving children complete fluency in both languages. Having used Espresso throughout her teaching career, Suzanne explains how the platform supports bilingual learning while providing educators with an invaluable bank of curriculum-matched resources.
Kensington Wade opened in 2017 and as a bilingual immersive provider, we’re recognised as one of the most innovative schools in London. With over 100 students on roll, we deliver half of our lessons in English and half in Chinese, giving children a completely bilingual education. We split the school day in two and teach one language in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
I’ve used Espresso for many years and have been delighted to see how it can support teaching in a bilingual environment. Espresso has a translate function, which makes it easy for us to switch between two languages. If we’re teaching about the Gunpowder Plot in History for example, we can take resources and quickly translate them online. This means that the same content can be taught in Chinese, which is so helpful. With other products, our Chinese teachers have to make their own translations. But with Espresso, the process is seamless.
Espresso gives us an extensive bank of curriculum matched resources, and we use it widely in many of our lessons, whether we’re teaching in Chinese or English. The videos, texts and interactives can be applied to lots of different subjects and teachers can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Whether they’re teaching Science, Maths, English or Humanities, they can find relevant content to bring lessons to life.
We really like Espresso’s interactivity. The visual interface is appealing to children and helpful for those who speak little English. In Maths, Espresso makes learning more accessible. The Hundred Square is a particular favourite, because teachers can add or remove numbers to build student confidence, while helping them to develop mathematical language. In English, we use Espresso for grammar, spelling and punctuation. And in Humanities for subject research, to help the children go further.
One of the best things about Espresso is that it gives children a safe space to learn. We encourage students to use Espresso independently with their own login. Each week, we ask students to complete pre-learning at home. Quite often we’ll share links from Espresso, so that they can familiarise themselves with new topics. Recently, our Year 2 students were learning about the past tense in English. We asked them to watch an Espresso video and complete the linked activity, before starting the lesson in school.
Pre-learning helps our students to develop curiosity and gives them the chance to be more successful, which boosts their confidence and engagement. When we’re teaching skills in grammar, punctuation, spelling and maths, it’s helpful if students have practiced beforehand so they can be more successful in class. It’s great to have a resource like Espresso to support our pre-learning activities.
Our students are very proficient at picking up an iPad and using it for educational reasons, whether for research, games, activities or preparing work. They are used to accessing learning through technology and they actively embrace it. Espresso is a particular favourite because it feels familiar to them. They recognise the different characters and this acts as a cue. They think ‘I know what I am doing. I’m about to have a lesson about English….”, which is reassuring and builds confidence.
Espresso is an incredibly valuable bank of resources for our school. It’s helpful and supportive for teachers. And because it provides so much more than just videos and worksheets, it’s engaging for students. Espresso’s interactives allow our students to directly engage with a task. To fully participate in their learning and to make progress. As a product, we feel that it is good value for money. As a daily learning platform, we haven’t found anything better than Espresso.