Early literacy is closely linked to language development in the preschool years, nursery schools and other childcare settings. Disparities in linguistic and socio-economic contexts contribute to delays in language skills and less rich vocabulary, contributing to inequalities from early childhood. How to give the same chances to all children? In early childhood, children's ability to understand, transform and produce language is surprisingly constructed. Young children undergo a linguistic explosion between the ages of 3 and six years old. At the age of 3, their spoken vocabulary is about 900 words long. At the age of 6, it increases considerably between 8,000 and 14,000 words. However, social inequalities in the face of language are formed very early, and to stop them, early intervention by parents and networks for young children must be a lever to promote equal opportunities.
Based on an American study, Terra Nova claims that at age 4, a child from a disadvantaged background heard 30 million fewer words than one from a wealthy family. He also masters two times less. The shift is particularly felt when learning to read. "A child who does not have a sufficiently provided mental dictionary will not be able to draw on this library to understand what he is deciphering," says linguist Alain Bentolila (Bentolila, 1985). This delay at start-up, if it is not filled very quickly, will affect the rest of his schooling. Nothing new under the yard? Of course, these original inequalities have been recognized implicitly for several years now. But recent neuroscience research on brain learning and plasticity in very young children confirms this diagnosis.
What is Language development?
Language is the basis of the communication of the human being. The word begins its development from the first moment of life when the baby listens to us talk and observes how we communicate. From the first weeks of birth, children begin to interpret looks, smiles, and faces, while listening to the linguistic interpretations given by the people around them. The verbalizations that the babies listen to are of great importance for their correct linguistic development, which is part of the whole social dimension and is continuously refined. The development of language in children can occur with a different rhythm because although there are specific characteristics that have allowed to establish a pattern in the acquisition of this, the truth is that not all children begin at the same age, nor end in the same time the language learning process. It is always recommended to stimulate the development of oral language, which contributes to its proper construction.
How to promote the development of language in toddlers?
Here are some tips and activities to help develop a child's language skills. One has to be as attentive as possible to what the child wants to say because he must practice speaking and gain confidence in him to develop his language. Continue to help a child build vocabulary by using various words. Do not hesitate to explain the words he does not know. Talk to him without trying to shorten sentences. He gains to hear long, well-constructed sentences. Follow the child in his fantastic games. When inventing scenarios, he also says different sentences from normal ones. One can take advantage of this to introduce phrases or less frequent words. Talk to him about what he does and what you do, what interests him in a game, what happens in a story? Always follow the child's preferences to maintain the pleasure that he has to speak. If there’s a difficulty understanding what a child is telling, ask them what they are trying to say or summarize some of what they said and encourage them to complete. This will show him that what he means is essential. Encourage efforts to communicate by showing oneself as patient and interested. Play with him to classify objects or cards by category (e.g., animals, means of transport). This activity helps a child organize the words of his vocabulary into his head and find them more easily later when he speaks. Read stories that have problems to solve with him, and think about the character's emotions and possible solutions. Encourage him to develop his understanding of language and his skills to make sentences.
To stimulate speech and language in a toddler:
In this course, several activities are presented to children of this age to encourage communication. Children from 2 to 4 years old are interested in board games. They are interested in, among other things, games of lotto, bingo, search and find memory and cards.
Several games are available throughout the stores and others can be printed on the Internet. In addition to this, several small interventions can be practiced daily to stimulate language in these children.
Make them talk about topics that interest them. When you talk to them, use words that are a bit more difficult for them, but do not repeat them. Children will learn the words before they can pronounce them.
Find often the same and not the same. For example, by folding clothes, find similar bottoms and insist on similarities and differences.
Encourage children to tell stories with the help of books they know well.
One can also read them more and more stories. In this way, children gradually increase their level of attention.
Show interest in what they tell. Post comments, ask questions.
Play and Learn
This course supports your child's development while playing and learning through our seven levels designed to help your child's evolution at his own pace. We harness your child's physical and mental potential by providing structured and fun activities with our material while solving problems and telling stories.
Play and Learn, 10-16 months
At this age, children begin to communicate very skillfully. They "speak" through complex mimicry, emitting sounds, and acting. They talk to us the way they see and perceive the world around them. At Level 3, the groups are designed to encourage this exchange of communication and to promote motor skills through movement games, equipment exploration, and side-by-side play. Group activities increase children's body skills - balance, coordination of movement, and awareness of space - as well as improve their social behavior, and encourage them to communicate creatively. Parents learn to understand better how their children interact with them and their families.
Play and Learn, 16-22 months
At this level of development, the child is very active and uses the knowledge acquired so far, to solve problems ingeniously. He begins to understand and can plan a series of actions to achieve a goal. Level 4 promotes more than physical development, it also encourages language, thought and behavior in society to help your child understand how the world works and find practical solutions to problems he or she encounters. The courses are designed to explore the development of more complex concepts and to guide children towards a competent understanding of contrasts that will support the development of critical thinking. They learn the opposites (such as "inside and outside" or "up and down"). Games and songs reinforce the theme of the day and the acquisition of language.
Play and Learn, 22-28 months
At this age, children are full of imagination and develop new skills very quickly, using words and symbols to express their thoughts and ideas. While playing, they become aware of new concepts and feelings, which are essential to their social, emotional and intellectual development. Special equipment is used to support the development of this creative concept. In Level 5, we use our stuff, we make movements and have at our disposal a wide variety of fun and creative activities that encourage social interaction, cognitive and linguistic development.
Play and Learn, 28-36 months
At this stage of development, children are already able to express their ideas and thoughts in a very complicated way, and they begin to make logical connections between ideas and can mime stories that make sense. In Level 6, classes are designed around imaginary play themes and encourage children to cooperate and communicate. Children learn to connect ideas logically by imaginatively using our equipment, listening to stories and making movements to the rhythm of the music.
School preparation 3-4 years
One of the most important things you can bring to your child is the desire to learn. Our academic preparation courses help your child make this transition to academic learning by doing something creative. Our program encourages curiosity in the classroom and a genuine desire to learn while emphasizing the development of social behavior, all of which is the key to academic success. Children also develop their self-confidence through art, science, mathematics, language, and movement. Books and school-related activities prepare children to read and write and also nourish their development, their social and emotional behavior. Activities require cooperation and self-awareness and encourage children to communicate with each other. These courses include both self-directed and group-based educational activities to promote the development of the person and social behavior necessary for the success of this transition to school. These courses are combined with sports, music and visual arts classes so that children have 2 to 3 hours of programs without their parents.
"Play & Learn" with family from 0 - 4 years
Bring all your children under 5 to a class that you can do together! There are many benefits to mixing ages in a class, and you will be able to witness it through our specially developed approach to family play. Discover our space of games, games of movements, physical exercises, stories and games with our colorful parachute, all this in a course that promotes the physical, social and linguistic development of your children. The activities are also designed to allow siblings to play together, children and adults discover activities together, but each at their own pace.
Goals and objectives of the proposed project:
Chantal Lacasse, a specialized educator, as well as Paschale Pinsonnault and Sophie Raymond, speech-language pathologists, all of whom work at the Raymond-Dewar Institute, a rehabilitation center in Montreal (Canada) (Patterson, 2016). They work with children aged 0 to 7 years who have speech and communication problems. Given the young age of children, support for families and language rehabilitation is always through play. Their role is to guide parents in the pursuit of the child's learning in the activities of the child. According to them, three key elements are to be retained and constitute the basis of language stimulation:
• First of all, following the interests of the child in the game and the conversation helps to build the child's knowledge based on topics that interest him and also to motivate him to continue the activity.
• Next, keep in mind that communicating is always done in pairs. The game is thus an excellent time to learn to express oneself in turn and offer the child good models of sounds, words, and phrases.
• Finally, having fun to communicate is essential. Laughing, reading or telling stories, imitating and singing in a pleasant atmosphere will value the child in his language productions and make him want to communicate more.
All games can be used to stimulate language. Those selected for this article suggest specific notions in this sense. The proposed models offer children opportunities to learn, imitate and reproduce what they have heard, no matter what game they are interested in. Just grab the everyday opportunities to talk to them.
Anderson-McNamee, J. K., & Bailey, S. J. (2010). The importance of play in early childhood development. Montana State University Extention, 1-4.
Dickinson, D. K., & Tabors, P. O. (2001). Beginning literacy with language: Young children learning at home and school. Paul H Brookes Publishing.
Dupart, A., Hollins, J., & Bentolila, A. (1985). Kindergarten Teachers: Members of a Reading Research Lab in France: An Interview with Alain Bentolila. The Reading Teacher, 38(7), 654-657.
Golinkoff, D. G. S. R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2006). Play= Learning: How play motivates and enhances children's cognitive and social-emotional growth. Oxford University Press.
Harlin, R. P. (2007). Research into practice: interventions for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Patterson, J. L., & Rodríguez, B. L. (Eds.). (2016). Multilingual perspectives on child language disorders. Multilingual Matters.
Wortham, S. C. (2002). Early childhood curriculum: Developmental bases for learning and teaching. Merrill/Prentice Hall.
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