ESL Curriculum for young learners

Many schools have the ESL curriculum planned for the whole year. Some schools leave it all up to the foreign ESL teacher. I was so lost at my first teaching job; the school did not have any teaching materials, nor any teaching plans.

To give you an idea of what to teach and when, I have laid out a basic ESL curriculum for young learners who are just starting to learn English. It’s by no means complete or the exact order to follow, it’s a start to work from. Check my list of 25 basic subjects for starters below.


Basic ESL curriculum

1.      Alphabet A for apple, B for ball, C for cat, etc.
2.      Greetings Hello and hi, goodbye and see you.
3.      Introductions What’s your name? My name is. Nice to meet you.
4.      Age How old are you? I’m 5 years old.
5.      Describe feelings How are you? I’m happy, sad, tired, cold, hot, hungry.
6.      Numbers How many monkeys (are there)? (There are) nine monkeys.
7.      Colors What color is it? It’s blue, red, green, yellow, pink.
8.      Shapes What shape is it? It’s a square, circle, triangle, heart, star.
9.      Fruits What do you like? I like apples, oranges, bananas.
10.   Body Touch your head, mouth, eyes, nose.
11.   Animals I like dogs, cats, butterflies, lions.
12.   Actions I can walk, run, jump. I can’t swim, fly.
13.   Weather What’s the weather like today? It’s sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy.
14.   Days of the week What day is it? It’s Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.
15.   Time What time is it? It’s 9 o’clock.
16.   Family members Do you have a brother, sister, father, mother, uncle, auntie?
17.   School bag What’s in your bag? There’s a pencil, eraser, book, bottle.
18.   Sizes It’s big, small, short, long, fat, thin, fast, slow.
19.   Food I want to eat chicken, rice, pizza.
20.   Transport I go to school by bus, train, car, taxi, helicopter.
21.   Jobs I’m a teacher, pilot, fireman, police officer.
22.   Clothes I’m wearing shoes, pants, a T-shirt, dress, skirt.
23. Prepositions Where is the eraser? It’s in, on, under, next to the table.
24.  At home Where is? In the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living room.
25. Countries I’m from China, Korea, Japan, America, England.
ESL curriculum: My family
ESL curriculum: My family


This list is 1 to 3 years worth of material, depends on the age of your students and the frequency of classes. Done with this ESL curriculum? Let me give you some more ideas.


Other subjects

On the farm What can you see? Pigs, cows, ducks. How many?
In the park Flowers, grass, trees, bees, butterfly, sky, sun.
At the beach Sand, seashells, swimsuit, towel.
Breakfast What did you eat for breakfast? I ate bread, butter, jam, cereal, milk, eggs, noodles, pancakes
Dinner time What’s on the table? Spoons, forks, knifes, plates, cups.
Where do you live? I live in Hong Kong.
Morning What do you do in the morning? I get up, brush my teeth, wash my face, comb my hair, get dressed, pack my bag, go to school.
My school Where is the playground? It’s across from, next to the hall, library, computer room, lunchroom.
Be polite I’m sorry, it’s OK, please, thank you, you’re welcome.
In the store How much is a hotdog? That’s 11 dollars, please.
On the phone Can I speak to Annie, please?
Senses I can feel, smell, hear, see, speak, taste.
What is good for you? Vegetables/meat/fish water is/are good for me
A cold day I want a hat, coat, jacket, scarf, gloves, boots.
My birthday Gift, birthday cake, party, present
ESL curriculum: My school
ESL curriculum: My school


I will give you weekly ideas on how to teach these subjects in my blog. Please let me know which subject you’d like to receive more tips for.

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