Language allows us to learn, build relationships and succeed. Children begin to communicate from birth and gradually learn the rules that make up language. As an early childhood educator, it’s important to foster these early language skills. It’s also important to be aware of signs pointing to developmental delays.
During the first years of life, children’s brains develop quickly, laying down the foundation for learning. Adult-child communication influences early brain growth and learning, giving early childhood educators a crucial opportunity to provide children with interactions that can support language development.
Early language skills include a child’s ability to communicate through words, gestures or facial expressions, as well as the capacity to understand others.
To help foster infant and toddler communication development, follow these guidelines:
- Talk, talk, talk. Engage your students in conversations throughout the day, no matter the age of the child.
- Give details. Describe objects, activities and events that are going on around your students.
- Use different vocabulary and grammar.
- Read books. Pick out books that make the children want to interact. Reading the same books repeatedly helps with communication.
- Sing songs. Engage the children in musical activities and songs.
- Use gestures. Use simple signs with words or gestures when teaching children how to express their emotions, wants and needs.
You can be a great influence in your students’ development of language, so use every opportunity to help them expand their vocabulary.