With nearly 30 years of global experience in English as a second language (ESL) programmes, the Helen Doron Educational Group recently licensed Helen Doron English enrichment kindergartens to Turkish Master Franchisors.
The school year in Turkey opened this year with 10 Helen Doron English enrichment kindergartens teaching the Helen Doron English method, with an additional 10 schools opening soon. The curriculum was specially designed by the educational franchise’s in-house pedagogic teams, external early childhood education experts and Helen Doron herself, to create quality, fun, stress-free programmes. The Helen Doron Kindergarten curriculum is based on the development of pre-schoolers’ brain, body and soul and the connections between them. In addition to English lessons, the curriculum also includes: reading and writing, storytelling (literacy), mathematics and logical games, science, arts and crafts, multilingual music, and a major emphasis on social skills, physical activity and fitness & motor skills; all based on the special Helen Doron methodology.
Due to enthusiastic demand from parents, 200 more combination morning kindergartens and afternoon learning centres are planned to open within the next 4 years.
Fatih Omar Dericioglu, Helen Doron English Master Franchisor in Erken Yasta,, explained why Helen Doron English answers an educational need in his country. “Turkey is a huge country with a population of 80 million people, yet there is very little in the way of English instruction for children, so this is a perfect opportunity. For children under the age of 7, in the pre-school market, the need is acute. That’s why 75% of our students are under the age of 5.”
Dericioglu elaborated on how the afternoon programmes evolved into a comprehensive kindergarten curriculum, “We introduced Helen Doron English 4 years ago in Turkey and it was so successful that we decided to branch out and open comprehensive English enrichment bilingual kindergartens in addition to the early English programmes. This idea stemmed from parent feedback, as they were so pleased with the teachers, methodology, materials and impressive results, that they wanted their children to spend more time in a Helen Doron environment. We listened to the parents, and realizing the potential, opened all-day kindergartens that are now being used as Learning Centres after school hours and even during weekends, increasing income opportunities for our franchisees. Our Learning Centres are open 7 days a week, 11 hours a day.”
Historically, there is a general belief in Turkey that children must master their mother tongue before attempting to learn a second language. “We know that’s incorrect, so a lot of what we do is to educate the educators about the many benefits of bilingualism.” Recent research from all over the world confirms that children have the capacity and ability to learn more than one language and that learning a second language as early as possible is overwhelmingly beneficial. Being bilingual actually has social and emotional benefits, and bilingual babies become smarter children and adults.
“It is well-known that our language teachers are the best-trained in the country. Not every English-speaker can become a Helen Doron teacher and that really shows in the quality of their teaching and how well children learn.”
“Our growth has been even better than expected, as Turkish parents are eager to invest in their children’s future.” Mr Dericioglu concluded. “Parents are so proud when they hear their children speaking English. That is our best advertisement, as they tell everyone about it.”