Learning Outcome 5: ‘Children are effective communicators’ is about more than picture books, stencils and ipads. Here’s 5 tips to support children with learning outcome 5.
- Allow children to use their voice: Children all have a voice, whether it is expressed through dialogue or body language, and we as educators have an obligation to let children use their voice. Often it is easier or more convenient to plan out the day and how children will be expected to behave during specific parts of the routine, or the steps of an experience. Yet this does not allow for children to share their own ideas/needs, create their own learning and express their own understandings. A child-centred program relies upon educators not only listening to the children’s voices, but creating opportunity for these voices to be used.
- Add text into different types of play: There are so many ways you can build text and writing into play that are in child focused and open-ended approaches. From adding letters to items in loose parts play, letter shaped cookie cutters in play dough, or boxes with logos on them in home corner, children have the opportunity to choose to engage with text and symbols. A simple ways to add writing is to have clipboards paper and pencils available both inside and outside for children to document their learning.
- Allow children to express their ideas in their own way: There is not one set way that we can expect children to explore and communicate their ideas, some may use descriptions, some plan, some draw, some build, some literal, some figurative, some diagrammatic. The more opportunities children have to communicate their ideas in a way that makes sense to them, the more they are able to cement their learning and share their knowledge with others.
- Use music to explore patterns: Music is a great way to explore patterns such as rhymes, rhythm and tempo in a fun and play based way. There are also lots of patterns in traditional songs such as nursery rhymes, with rhyming couplets at the end of lines. Another way to explore patterns it through transition songs (such as 5 speckled frogs) where children can not only engage with music, but also learn the predictability of patters and use this to understand what will happen next.
- Use technology to build relationships instead of avoid relationships: Technology use with adults is often a solitary event, however with children we should not use it the same way. The use of technology should allow for discussions, ideas, communication and collaborative work. I have seen services use technology as a substitute for teaching (e.g. TV programs and youtube videos entertaining the children for a large group time, while the educator supervises and controls the group) which not only interferes with the child’s ability to build relationships with the educators, but also restricts the children’s use of language. Whereas watching a video to discuss and unpack the ideas and challenge thinking as a small group is a very different use of the same technology.
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