COMMUNICATIVE DEVELOPMENT – Human beings are communicative. We are verbal social beings. We have language to express our ideas and thoughts, our wants and needs. Even those quiet and shy people, when they get ready to, will talk.
As a teacher how do you encourage the children in your care to communicate? Here are 10 tips. Try at least one. If it works, try another one. It will not matter what age designation there is because children are at different abilities in their language development.
Tip 1 – babble and coo to the child. If the child does not have words, no problem. Imitate their sounds. This confirms that what they express is valid. It may even have meaning to them, just not to you. If they are past the cooing stage imitate whatever sound they are currently making.
Here is a link to a child and father communicating. Tooooo funny!
Tip 2 – perform parallel speech. That is when you describe what someone is doing, in detail. This is a commentary or description of someone’s actions. “Jane is picking up the yellow crayon from the middle of the table.”
Tip 3 – perform self-talk. This is describing exactly what you are doing. “I am picking you up, Jane, to put you on the changing table.
Watch this Youtube experience to see the importance of talking to children.
Tip 4 – have a conversation with every child in your care during the day. When is there time you ask? Upon arrival. Before naptime. After naptime. During breakfast. During lunch. While waiting for the next thing to happen. Before departure. Your next question is probably what should I talk about? Anything that is personal. Not things like what color are your shoes. More like “what is your favorite game to play with your big brother?”
Now remember that a conversation is a back and forth with at least 3 complete exchanges. It’s a monologue if yours’ is the only voice heard.
Tip 5 – Sing lots of songs, especially finger plays and action songs. Don’t know any. Watch Youtube. But remember to learn the words yourself. Children need to see how you say the words: lips, tongue placement, teeth, etc. How else will they distinguish /b/ and /p/?
Tip 6 – Play story starters. Make up a beginning, such as “Once upon a time there was a dog that…” Go around the room and let each child contribute a part to the story. Whatever the children say is fine. The middle of the story will be jumbled and crazy. The end of the story will be for you to conclude in the funniest way you can. This is just for fun. It can even be crazy.
Tip 7 – make a toilet paper roll microphone for taking turns and spotlighting the person currently talking. Get the instructions in our next newsletter. Make one for every child to do their own karaoke?
Tip 8 – use puppets, dolls, and stuffed animals to let children talk to or talk with. Teachers usually let these gather dust because they don’t want to look funny. To whom would you look funny? Get over yourself and have fun.
Tip 9 – have a mystery box and make up clues and ask the children to guess what you are hiding. This can be rhyming words, beginning sounds, or random items based on anything (especially a book recently read).
Tip 10 – Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. You cannot read too much. It increases vocabulary, memory, concepts, sentence structure, and on and on.
All of these suggestions are meant to encourage all the children to participate in some way.