The Trip to School
By Maureen Penko
I recently read the book to a seven-year-old online about Splat and the Cool School Trip.
We both shared the joy and humour in Rob Scottonís book and thoroughly enjoyed the artwork. When we were done the child expressed that he had never been on a school trip or as we know it a field trip with his school due to the virus.
In this issue I will address what is important to focus on with children in regards to speech and language development and what we try to continue to promote despite the restrictions.
This time of the year is when we look ahead to what school we will enroll our child in kindergarten and think about the skills your child needs to be ready for school.
As parents you can contact the school principle to ask about the kindergarten class and how you will receive information. If you have a child with challenges, gathering as much of the key reports for the school will be valuable in their preparation for your child.
Letís first talk about what communications skills your child should have at ages four - five - six.
A lot of learning at a rapid speed takes place during these ages and stages with comprehension of vocabulary, developing movement skills, sentence building and the refinement of speech sounds, conversation exchanges and listening skills.
Childrenís pronunciation should be clear by age 5. They may struggle with the mastery of larger words when producing the s, z, r and l sounds in blended words. A lisp may be noticeable or a sound may be occasionally left off. The r sound maybe be tricky in the words such as Marshall or surprise. How we say words transfer into spelling skills.
During this period, they are absorbing a lot of vocabulary and understanding the meaning of words in the context of their learning. Nouns, verbs and adjectives, prepositions ( under , behind) and words such as probably, amazing, humungous. By six, the knowledge of creating sentences is well in place and evolving. These sentences are developed from language heard and from the stories read. Sentences are then transferred into writing skills. Since there is a lot of language growth during this time and children are easily excited, words may be gently repeated such as "you know you know" before the message carries on. This inconsistent word searching is typical of a child during these ages. Do not confuse a normal phase of occasional repetitions with a lot of repetitions and struggles in speech the latter does require you to seek advice about your child speech pattern.
Using the pronouns, she, he, his, her, their, should be modelled by you. The ability to follow a complex direction such as "Can you bring me the light blue crayon from the container?" is developing. This ability to attend, focus and carry out a direction shows your how strong your childís memory is.
The development of the question is dominant now and is an indication of how inquiry develops.
Curiosity is developed through the questions and plays out in many ways: Where is-? Why are we-? When do we..? How are we going-? Who is that? Can we-? are being practiced in the search for more information from you but it also allows you to also model questions and not just provide answers. Your child will like to be praised and asked "You built that all by yourself? How did you do it?
This is a time when you want to read stories that build inquiry and language. Talking and reading together builds the relationship with print and the joy of doing an activity together. Through story telling activities your child listens, processes information, hears clear speech models and builds their knowledge.
Emotions are expressed and understood and these can be reinforced daily in your childís life.
Making this comment "I see how excited you are today about going to the museum and so was XXXX in the story."
At 4-6 years of age, conversations are rich and interesting. Your child is able to initiate and share information, have a conversation and stay on topic.
Everyone has had their childís education disrupted due to the virus, but you can try to make up their learning through everyday experiences such as cooking with them, creating make believe, experimenting, scrapbook stories and most of all having outdoor experiences in winter and summer. The most important news we have heard from specialists is to allow our child to be with others and other children as that is how they learn. It will take some creativity, so letís see what some parents who have homeschooled their child have to say about how they have built in learning and social skills
We incorporate the school learning through, cooking, building, reading, and play. We have been able to promote math, science and social studies curriculums. We have teamed up with another family consistently to encourage the social skills. We have theme activities and along with the themes there is always a celebration with an edible. What better way to learn numbers, shapes, size, colours, prepositions (on, inside), texture and taste vocabulary when making a gingerbread house.
For social experiences we have gone to museums as a family trip and have worked on vocabulary, math and science. When we get home, we talk and write about what we saw which works on the language development, and writing skills.
We build up their self -confidence by allowing them to lead some of the learning and we even get them to show off their work to family. This is the most rewarding part for the child and the parent.
We can create learning through trips to the museum, art gallery, bookstores, grocery store, outdoor activities, watching movies and everyday living as part of the Trip to School.
Regardless of your educational choice path for your child member to always ask a professional if you are concerned about their speech, language and social skills development.
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