Monday, June 23, 2014

Engaging preschool children with spoken language, ages 3-6

Take care to convey that language is fun. It is not for punishment or directions, or else that will take all of the joy out of it. All the work of millennia of joyful experiences with language must be imparted. How can children enjoy language?
·         Songs. Start with songs they know. Sing the songs that are beloved. Sing number songs. Bring emotion and joy to the songs. Color songs, months of the year, days of the week. Songs about their daily activities. Songs about hand washing “Hands, palms, fingers, rinse.” Songs about things around us. Songs of our own culture and other cultures.
·         Nursery rhyme and fingerplays. Find good poems, in addition to nursery rhymes. Children will easily recite long poems if we start introducing long poems at an early age. Share poetry by saying it, not reading it. Make it a verbal activity. (I Think Mice are Nice)
·         Explore rhythm, clap out syllables. Compare the rhythm of their own names and the names of their peers.
·         Make lists. Who can think of different kinds of [fruits]? Some children will repeat each other, but it is easy.
Language games like tongue twisters, for the older child. They love creating alliterative sentences. Jokes, puns, riddles. What is the longest word you know? What about the shortest word you know? 

Jeannot Jonte Boucher is a Montessori educator and parent in Dallas, Texas. 

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