By Roxane Bélanger, M.O.A., SLP-C, Reg. CALSPO Speech Language Pathologist, First Words Preschool Speech and Language Program of Ottawa and Renfrew County
Get your child ready for daycare or school by teaching them basic social skills grounded in language. Language and social thinking skills are crucial to a child’s success in building strong relationships with others, especially when you are going back to daycare or school after a pandemic year with limited social opportunities and virtual schooling.
Our small mailboxes serve as a means of communication between educators and parents. We also laminated our old calendar sheets and then put them in a binder so that parents can see what their children have done in their day.
The social distancing and restrictions, based on public health regulations, that have been necessary in the past year have forced educators to rethink the way children play. Creating individual bins that children can use independently is a great way to meet children’s interests and needs all while allowing for easy clean up and avoid sharing of certain materials.
Quality interactions are key for encouraging children’s language development. But with public health measures like masks and physical distancing, how can early childhood professionals ensure that they’re still maintaining that quality? Janice Greenberg, Early Childhood Services Director at The Hanen Centre, explains how educators can still apply evidence-based practices within pandemic restrictions. Speech-language pathologists, early interventionists and other Early Years professionals can also make use of these strategies in their work with children.
Encouraging simple peer interactions within familiar routines and activities can be an effective first step toward helping children to: attend to their peers, share attention with their peers, respond and initiate simple exchanges. A first step may be having the children non-verbally participate in the interactions, and later adults can model appropriate language that the children can use with their peers. The important part for these early interactions is that each child has a clear “role” in the interaction, and that an adult is nearby to help each child to take their turn.
At our childcare MIFO des Pins, we have implemented a way for toddler, preschool and school age educators to encourage one another by posting words of encouragement and thank you messages to colleagues. This enhances our sense of belonging and motivates and values our strengths as a team.
Communication starts at birth. Parents who talk to their baby, observe, follow, and play with their children play a crucial role in supporting communication development. One important skill is turn-taking. Turn-taking skills are an integral part of communication in young children.
What exactly is “turn-taking” skills?
Turn-taking skills can be compared to the ultimate “ping-pong” communication game. It involves the back-and-forth interaction between two people, between you and your child. Turn-taking skills are the foundation to healthy attachment and communication skills. Turn-taking skills are built into “serve-and-return” interactions that are so important to build a child’s brain. When you and your baby are actively engaged and practice taking turns during sound play imitation, a peek-a-boo game, chatting, you are laying the foundation for later conversation.
Providing deep proprioceptive sensory input through heavy work is a great way to calm your child’s body and there are lots of different heavy work activities that your child can do.
But maybe you’re looking for something new for your child to do since it’s winter?
This list of winter heavy work activities for kids to do outdoors in the snow is a great starting point if you are looking to sneak in some extra sensory diet activities this winter. So bundle those kids up and head outdoors for these simple, yet effective heavy work ideas!
Here’s a list of 20 fun ways for kids to sneak in some heavy work while playing outdoors in the snow:
I have been an educator for over 10 years and I believe children learn best when being taught new skills with a hands-on approach. A reoccurring question I have asked myself during my years as an educator is, “how can I best help children to become more independent?”
I have worked with a variety of age groups and at each stage of the children’s development fostering independence is a critical part of the job of an educator. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work with many other professionals who also held the same belief and attended many workshops that have inspired me and taught me new techniques to use in my programs.