Labor Day Language Learning!
Did you know infants begin to comprehend word meanings from a very early age? Dr. Maria Montessori identified the most important sensitive period for developing language is from birth to age six. The phrase 'sensitive periods' refers to a period of time when a child's interests are focused on developing a particular skill or knowledge area.
It is important to understand that parents, teachers, extended family and so on, make up the environment that influences language development. What can you do to help aid your child’s language acquisition this Labor Day weekend?
1. Model language! Model language with activities of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Reading can improve vocabulary, and writing can improve grammar learning ability. Because native speakers do not learn these skill areas separately, it is vital all aspects of learning languages are taught together.
2. Design your environment! Create an environment that evokes conversation by identifying your child’s interests. Also, introducing children to new experiences is a great conversation starter! Here are a few activities you can incorporate to help create opportunities for your child’s language development.
Explore! Plan a hike. Hiking isn’t just great exercise, it is the perfect opportunity to teach children about the natural world. On your hike you can pre-plan games like a scavenger hunt. Have children locate items of specific shapes and colors or list specific items to identify. A senses hunt game can help children with identifying various smells, sounds, and textures.
Go for a bike ride! There are many joys and freedoms in riding a bike. Besides being extremely fun, use this opportunity to verbalize and practice directional sense. Build their vocabulary, you can start with identifying the parts of a bicycle. “What does the wheel do, which way is left?” Red light-green light, go left-go right, is a great game to play as a warm up to integrate the vocalization of directional sense.
Cook together! Whether it be jello, cupcakes, ice cream, or peeling/preparing fruit this weekend, cooking is a hands-on science experiment that activates the senses. “Which color apple is sweet? Which color tastes sour?” Heighten their vocabulary and comprehension using descriptive words reciprocating the five senses.