Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spoken Language Games for Pk/K: Developmental language in the primary classroom

We work constantly to enrich the vocabulary of the children. They may need words for the qualities of things, for qualities and for items in the environment. For the child coming in for the first time, we begin by providing the language of the environment. It will be for the classroom environment and the larger social environment.

We use a technique called Listen and Do. The children gather, while the teacher asks the children to do something in the room, and then you say a child's name to do the things. This way the child can show you which words they didn't know. Make a habit of asking questions generally and then the name. If the child doesn't know, either another child can go with them to help them, or the teacher will do with them. It helps introduce the vocabulary particular to the classroom, establishing a common vocabulary. So you can use the same technique with the names of exercises in the room as well, such as, "Wendy, go to the spooning and pouring."

 Begin broadly, and focus down to activities, and then objects specifically within an activity. It can be as simple or more complex than "the table washing" or "the spoon from the split pea spooning". The activity will be completed when there are five or six commands for each child. It can be used to draw attention to a material that the children don't typically get to use. Each time, the retrieval of the word will be faster and faster. You can make it more complex by adding multiple steps. You can also make it a Listing Game. It begins, "Let's list all the birds we know."

Each of the games are short and quick, but they reinforce and consolidate the environment.

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

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