Look Who’s Talking!
Language skills development is crucial in the first three years. It is the gateway to communicating and engaging with the world.
We are social beings and are often intrinsically motivated to engage and share our ideas, thoughts and feelings with others. We use different tools and media such as music, dance, and creative movement to express ourselves and relate with others. In the process, we learn more about ourselves and the world around us.
Infants and toddlers are also communicators. It is imperative that they are supported on their speech and language skills development. Parents and educators alike need to do this for them. However, it requires the investment of effort and empathy to support young children as co-partners of their learning and development.
Infants and toddlers’ speech and language development normally develops progressively over the first couple of years. In fact, the first three years of a child’s development is often associated as critical in laying the foundations of the child’s overall development.
Speech development gradually transitions from simply exploring with vocalizations and responding to their name in the first six months. It then progresses to being able to use single words in speech with meaning. Awareness of social value in speech happens by the time a child turns one years old.
By the time a child turns three, his vocabulary bank can possibly have approximately more than 1000 words. This allows the ability to combine words into short sentences, successfully expressing their needs, ideas, and inquiries.
Every child is unique
Regardless of the pace each child develops at, children are designed to engage and interact with others. It is important to acknowledge their efforts even when it comes across as babbles at the very beginning. It is important for adults to exercise empathy with their efforts to communicate even if their ability may not be fully matured.
We should stay observant to discover the patterns of their efforts and find the significance of those attempts and utterances. Make meaning and add value the babbling by expanding and building upon them through our verbal and non-verbal responses. Above all, it is key for us to be patient, to listen, and wait for children to respond. This gives them the time and space to communicate with us.
Regardless of age in the first 3 years, building communication skills in infants and toddlers can be supported by adults who engage them in conversations. This can be done simply by singing and talking to them, and valuing the importance of everyday opportunities. Routine activities are ideal and provide fertile opportunities to engage children in interaction.
Engaging children in verbal interaction during these times initiates, sustains and invites communication. It sets the stage for further speech and language skills development skills.
What does it take to communicate? Find out on the next page!
It takes two to communicate – me and you!
Support young children’s thriving development as communicators by first recognizing that communication for the young is not simply focused on being able to convey needs and wants verbally. It is essential to recognize that many early language experiences become building blocks that support building relationships with others. Therefore, it is not enough to simply talk to child, but to talk with them.
It may be overlooked that parents often have the most prized advantage over many other adults in supporting their child’s communication development. This is an aspect that no speech and language development specialist can duplicate.
Parent-child relationships are an essential facet. It should be capitalized to serve as one of the most valuable resources in supporting a child’s language development. Conversations and interactions parents engage with their child are very often more meaningful as a result of the close relationships they share. As parents, it is then key to identify what motivates their children to interact with them, what interests their child so that they can recognize how to get conversations started.
Children should enjoy conversation experiences and associate it as pleasurable.
It is important to provide them with a variety of opportunity to not only interact with parents, but a wider social circle of people. To promote enjoyment in conversations and to develop budding communicators also implies that we should remain mindful of the way we speak with children, and alter the ways we speak to model how effective communicators are. Example, play with intonation, use the expressive voice, and play with the use of words.
It does take two to communicate. However, the experiences we share during the process should be kept fun and enjoyable.
Linguistics and Communication Discovery Workshop and 1-on-1 consultation
For the month of September, Learning Vision wants to help parents better understand their child’s linguistics and communication abilities. Their Discovery Workshop presents parents an opportunity to observe, analyse and respond to the unique way a child’s experiences the world through language. This is so you can better provide your child with the most fulfilling learning experiences in life.
Observe your child react to the tailored, child-directed one-hour workshop. It is a guided interactive session specially designed to promote your child’s linguistics and communication abilities. Designated topics are going to be explored, and tools and materials in a stimulated environment will be used.
During the session, parents will have the chance to analyse and respond to their child’s communication abilities together with curriculum experts during a one-on-one consultation.
- Location: Learning Vision @ Temasek Club
- Date: 17th September 2016
- Time: 9am-3pm
- Who should attend: Parents with child/children age 1-6 years old
Admission is free! For more information and to register, visit www.learningvisionopenday.com. Be sure to register early to avoid disappointment!