IH Very Young Learners

Dates Sort descending School Location Mode Fee
05 Oct - 14 Dec 2024
Online Training 100% Online PT £495

IH Very Young Learners Course 

This highly practical course focuses on the specific skills and techniques needed to teach younger children aged 3 to 5. Teaching this age group requires approaches that are very different to the normal language classroom and the course includes content on storytelling, games, songs, music and chants. You will learn how to engage and manage very young learners effectively and safely as well as building a resource of materials and ideas you can use in your classroom.


The complete course price is £495 plus 20% VAT if you will be taking this course while in the UK, or your employer is a UK-based company. 

If you have completed an online course with IH OTTI in the previous 12 months, there is a loyalty discount of 10% and the price for teachers working in an IH school is £421Just let us know on the application form if you would like to claim these discounts. 

Who is this course designed for

If you are a qualified language teacher with experience of teaching adults or young learners age 6 or above, and would like to learn more about teaching younger children aged 3 to 5, this course is for you.

If you are a teacher in an international school or kindergarten and would like advice and ideas for teaching children under 6 (not English as a Second Language specific), this course will help you do this.

This course is also for an ESL teacher with experience who…

  • is working in other fields but is looking to specialise in Very Young Learners;
  • has been teaching adults and would now like to broaden their skills to teach Very Young Learners;
  • is specialising in other areas, e.g. test preparation or business English, but is looking to expand their teaching experience;
  • is looking to bridge a gap in their teaching capabilities;
  • wants to learn more about how to be an effective teacher;
  • is seeking opportunities to work in other educational contexts;
  • already teaches Very Young Learners and wants to learn more to improve their teaching;
  • wants to know more about the aspects of language learning and development in early childhood;
  • wants to find new ways to inspire and motivate Very Young Learners.

Entry requirements

To apply for this course, you should have some experience of teaching English to adults, teenagers, or Young Learners (age 6 and above). You do not need to have a TEFL qualification to take this course, you may be qualified as a kindergarten or early years teacher. Experience of teaching Very Young Learners previously is not necessary.

Please note that your level of English should be B2 or above.

Online applications close on the Wednesday before the course starts. However, we sometimes have late availability, so please get in touch with the admissions team at ihotti@ihworld.com and we will see if there are any last-minute spaces. 

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to prepare teachers for the unique challenges of working with learners, aged 3, 4 and 5. 

Teaching children of this age is different from teaching young learners age 6 or above. For VYLs, your role is more than just a language teacher – you have more responsibility for the care of the children while they are in your classroom. You also need to employ different techniques and methodology to engage them and facilitate their learning.

This course is designed to support you in developing the special skills and tools required to teach this specific age group. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What time do I need to devote to studying? We recommend at least 7 hours each week reading, completing tasks, and joining in the discussion forums. 

Are there live sessions? There are no live sessions. All online courses are asynchronous meaning you can access materials and discussion forums whenever it suits you. 

Do I have to be teaching a very young learner class now? No. But if you can try out the techniques in your classroom as you are learning you’ll find it helpful. 

Do I have to read other books? No. We provide all the materials and links that you need. 

Can I join after the start date? You will progress through the course with the other participants in your cohort and the whole group will discuss tasks and content together, so you need to be there from the start.

How many people will be in my group? Usually between 8 and 12.

Will I get a certificate? Yes. See below!


Course content

There are 10 sessions in this course which will cover the following topics:

  1. What are Very Young Learners (VYLs)
  2. The Very Young Learner (VYL) teacher
  3. Managing young children in the classroom
  4. Coursebooks and materials
  5. Materials development
  6. Lesson planning
  7. Story telling for children
  8. Games and songs for children
  9. Music and chants for children
  10. Early literacy and learning

Over the 10 modules, your work will include participating in discussion forums, completing quizzes, reading and creating activities to try out in your classes. The tasks you complete are dependent on the subject matter of the module that week, for example, the first and last modules involve personal reflection. Generally, the tasks are quite practical and do not involve writing essays. There will be some lesson planning and experimenting with the material and activities covered during the course, e.g. for the story telling module, you will be given a story to adapt and use in a VYL classroom.

How is the course delivered?

This course is asynchronous which means you can access the material online whenever it suits you. You do not need to log on at a certain time every week, so the course suits busy lifestyles, work and/or family commitments, and a variety of time differences.

Your course tutors will guide and tutor you asynchronously throughout the course and you will progress with your cohort of fellow course participants. Active participation and engagement with the course activities and tasks are also essential to completing the course.

Discussion forums are an important part of asynchronous learning and create an online community that participants really value. You can share best practice tips, exchange ideas, and discuss your classroom experiences with your peers.


There are ten weeks of tutor led input on this course. After this you will have two weeks to complete and submit your portfolio of work ready for assessment. 

Your time commitment

The time commitment will vary depending on your involvement in the online discussion forums, but as a minimum this should be five hours per week. A further two hours per week should be spent completing portfolio tasks, which will involve applying the practical course input to the participant’s everyday teaching of Very Young Learners.

Your fellow course participants and online community

The number of course participants will be at least eight (that is our minimum), but is usually between twelve and eighteen. 

The online community you create with your fellow course participants is something we know people really value. Your fellow trainees may be one of the best sources of inspiration for you - sharing activities, games and songs that they have found successful with their own VYL classes. 

Course participants may be from all over the world, with a wide range of experience in different contexts between them and everybody learns from discussing and sharing together. Although the course has reading and theoretical input, it is primarily a very practical course to test ideas and techniques and learn from each other. 

You'll learn from each other as well as from the course material and your tutors.


Each of the 10 modules has an assessed task which is marked by the course tutors. The final assessment is based on a portfolio at the end of the course which includes the tasks completed during the course and a final reflective essay, as well as your participation during the course. This will be assessed by the IH World Assessment Unit.

The work completed during the modules, including participation in the discussion forums, quizzes, etc., is not assessed.

Your verified digital certificate

On successful completion of this course, and when your assignments have been moderated by an external assessor, you will receive a digital certificate. This is stored securely on a verified site, so everybody can be confident that it is authentic and real.

It will look like the image below:

VYL Certificate

You can share this with a prospective employer, client, or anybody else that you choose.

A digital certificate is more safe and secure for you than paper – it won’t get lost in the post, it won’t get damaged over time, and won’t get lost. It is always available, you can share in just one click, or you can print as many copies as you like whenever you would like. And, it’s better for the environment. Reducing paper, ink, and delivery means a lower carbon footprint.

Click here for a short video about verified digital certificates from our partner Accredible.


Meet our IH OTTI tutors here


More 100% online, part time, courses

Find other specialist courses which can boost your TEFL career from the IH Online Teacher Training Institute (IH OTTI).

Whichever course you take you’ll have a dedicated tutor to guide and support you and a group of peers to have discussions and share ideas with, so you'll feel part of an online community.

And all courses are online and asynchronous so you can access the information whenever it suits you.


Online teacher training