Welcome to the Summer Edition of Keeping in Touch. The focus of this edition is to encourage us as professionals to reflect on the importance of facilitating language development, building social skills, and, in the process, building better relationships with children, families, and colleagues.
This section is dedicated to all of you who have questions. Feel free to send in any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Often many others are wondering the same thing as you are. Each Keeping In Touch newsletter will include a question you’ve submitted and we will do our best to provide you with some beneficial information.
Here’s a question that many Early Childhood Educators have been asking lately: As RECE’s we use a great deal of open ended questions; “What’s that?” or “What are you making?” I’m finding a great deal of the children in my particular child care have limited language and don’t seem to know how to answer these questions. Is there any way to stimulate conversation and support their language development?
There sure is! Children with limited language skills, vocabulary, or social skills often answer these types of questions with a yes or no. This ends the interaction and interferes with a potential learning opportunity. Try to simply observe what the child is currently playing with, or which activity they are involved in. Try not to ask questions initially. Make comments and label their actions; “You are feeding the baby.” Don’t be afraid to pause to see if you get a reaction. Provide a question with two possible concrete choices; “Are you feeding your baby milk or apple juice?” However the child responds, reinforce and keep going. Repeat back their choice and expand. The conversation will flow and language learning has begun.