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How To Model Good Conversation Skills

Did you know?

Studies have shown that the early years setting tends not to be as much of a rich conversational environment as that of a child’s home setting. There are a few reasons for this, including time restraints, the different levels of intimacy of knowledge of a child between a practitioner and a parent/carer, and the number of children in a setting at one time. However, making time to model conversation will be invaluable for your Early Years’ communication development.

Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash
  1. Demonstrate descriptive language - children learn by observing example behaviour. So try to encourage them to develop a wider vocabulary and become more familiar with descriptive language. You can do this by making it a part of your everyday speech. For example, “Please pass me the blue pencil” or “Come sit on the green carpet”.
  2. Make the time – while it can be tricky to fit into a busy day, make sure time is taken to chat to children about subjects or events that aren’t related to the current activity or task in hand. Prioritise conversational opportunities, picking up on children’s questions and comments to encourage rich conversation.
  3. Show you can listen – sometimes it can feel like all we’re doing is telling our little ones to do things but listening is also very important. While conversation with children is highly beneficial, make sure there are times when you just listen with undivided attention. With a group of children this can be difficult, so it may be necessary to ask for help. A teaching assistant or volunteer could spend a morning or afternoon just focusing on talking, or listening, to children.

The most important thing to remember is that any conversation with our Early Years is beneficial; the more we do, the better their development!

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