Saturday, September 12, 2009

Preschool Talk

"The day soldiers stop bring you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them."
— General Colin Powell

"One learns peoples through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect."
— Mark Twain

"The less people know, the more they yell."
— Seth Godin

Definition: Communication
A two way process of sending and receiving messages: the way one chooses to express themselves.

Definition: Effective Communication
The two way process of successfully expressing ones true thoughts and feelings to the appropriate person/people, in the appropriate time environment(s), at the appropriate time(s).

Infants, toddlers and preschool aged children learn by example. They also learn how to behave within certain environments if adults inforce standards. It has been recorded that the average adult spends 3 minutes in actual "meaningful" conversation with our children daily. How often do we as preschool teachers, parents or family caregivers spend time engaging preschoolers in conversation about themselves? Do we provide opportunities for conversation in a group as well as one on one? Often times if we are not planning it within our preschool curriculum- it might not be happening.
Here are some things to think about:

Circle times: This is an opportunity for communication with the children as a group. Although it is primarily a teacher directed activity, you can make it co-active for the children by allowing them to freely speak and contribute to the circle time. You as a teacher model listening, effective communication techniques, manners, etc. Children learn by example.

Snacks and Mealtimes: "Family style" mealtimes means children assist in setting the table, serving, clean up etc. So often we as preschool teachers find it easier to do it all ourselves. But in reality, it's the opposite. Preschoolers get so much more out to the experience of learning to do it themselves and it makes for a language rich mealtime. Did you know that many of the skills they acquire "doing it themselves" are preparing them for Kindergarten?

Playtime: "What did you do today?" or "Tell me a story about your picture?" are great open-ended questions to ask preschoolers once they are engaged in playtime. It works best if you strategically position yourself in a good spot to view all the children and engage the one in conversation. Depending on the environment you work in, you will know the best time to do this. At one particular daycare I had worked at, a child loved to for her and I to share stories about when "we were little". I shared stories about when I was 5, and she shared stories about when she was 4.

"Be amusing: never tell unkind stories; above all, never tell long ones."
— Benjamin Disraeli

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