What communication skills are needed for your child to have a smooth start to school? As speech pathologists, we play an important role in working together early childhood educators and parents to support children to meet their understanding and speaking developmental milestones. Let’s look at some of these key communication skills and read on to see tips on how you can continue to support your child to develop these important life skills!Continue reading “Is my child ready for school?”
My house has been swallowed by a toy-nado! Like many new parents, I am again eating my words from a past life. I swore I would not spoil my children with ‘stuff’ nor let every space in my house be ravaged by a toy-nado of plastic, but I have failed miserably. It is well established that play is vital for children’s emotional, social and cognitive growth and “Toys are the tools of play”. So tonight’s blog will attempt to address the following: What are the best kind of toys to buy and how do you get the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ when it comes to toys?Continue reading “Help! Toy-nado alert!”
Have you ever shared an experience with someone where instead of feeling heard, you were on the receiving end of sympathy, comparison or worse, a lack of interest?
Empathy has the power to make or break personal and professional relationships. It is a cognitive skill that develops over time. We are all born with the potential to develop empathy but it is a taught skill, arguably the most important skill a parent can teach their child.
I often wonder what it is that triggers parents to make the decision to bring their child to a speech pathologist. So many parents are under the impression with talking, that it is better to ‘wait and see’ if they catch up or let them develop ‘at their own pace’. I wonder if this ‘wait and see’ approach would apply if the child was not walking at 2 years of age or was not toilet trained by 4?
As speech pathologists we know that the best thing to do if you are concerned about your child’s speech or language skills is to ‘address it today and not to delay’. In fact, the timing of visiting a speech pathologist is actually crucial.
Research shows that from birth to 5 years, children learn language through back-and-forth interactions with their parents. The less a child speaks or the less intelligible they are, the less these interactions occur. Check out the full article written by the Hanen Organisation about ‘Why it is important to start early’.
However, I am as guilty as the next parent at putting my head in the sand and hoping things will just work out. So for argument’s sake, I have put together the top 3 reasons ‘for’ and ‘against’ taking your child to see a speech language pathologist.Continue reading “A word on speech. “She’ll grow out of it…won’t she?””
At this time of year, we know that parents may be wondering, “Is my child ready for school?” coupled with potential doubts about their child’s abilities – “She only knows a few letters of the alphabet.”. If that is you, read on!
Firstly, we need to put it out there reading is not a natural process. It is a taught skill and in contrast to learning to talk, which is a wonderful development that happens (for the most part) naturally.
Nearly four decades of scientific research on how children learn to read supports an emphasis on phoneme awareness and phonics in a literature-rich environment. These findings challenge the belief that children learn to read naturally. (Lyon, G.R., 1998).
What is a literature-rich environment?
Having books read to them and having access to looking at books themselves is a good starting point however a literacy-rich environment demonstrates how literacy is useful in everyday life by allowing children to interact with print/texts independently and with parents/educators. This helps children understand WHY they need print, WHAT they use it for and HOW it is useful in everyday life. In other words, it needs to fun, engaging and meaningful to them.
What are some examples of print in everyday life?
- Your child’s name!
- Common shop names (e.g. McDonalds, Woolworths)
- Street signs (e.g. SLOW)
- Symbols (e.g. arrow, cross)
What do I do after I find this print?
Point it out and be excited when you discover it!
“Oh, look at this letter S on the SLOW sign. It’s just like the S at the start of your name, Sam.”
Talk about symbols and what they mean.
“A symbol is something you can read but it doesn’t have any words. See this arrow – I know that the way it is pointing is the way I need to go.”
Use the terminology
“Ah yes, that is the letter ‘M’ and underneath it is the word ‘McDonald’s”
There will be more posts coming about phonemic awareness – another very important foundational skill that supports learning to read.
Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies
Lyon, G. Reid. (1998). Educational Leadership, v55 n6 p14-18.
Preparing young children for school is the goal for many parents and preschool programs. Research has told us that the more skills children bring into their schooling – in basic maths, reading and social skills – the more likely they will succeed in those same areas in school.
Superskill for school success
But is there a superskill to school readiness? We sure think so – LANGUAGE. A study published in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly say that a child’s vocabulary and grammar not only predict future success with written and spoken language, but it also impacts performance in other subject areas.
Dr Amy Pace and her colleagues looked at data for more than 1200 children in the US and looked at several measures of academic and social skills at specific ages and grade levels, including upon school entry and in grades 1, 3 and 5.
The findings reveal that of the skills and milestones evaluated — social/emotional, attention, health, reading, maths and language — only language skills, when a child entered school, predicted his or her performance both within that subject area and most others (maths, reading and social skills) from first through fifth grade.
Why does language affect so many areas?
Language is a foundational skill in social interaction. If you have strong language skills, you will be able to communicate with peers and teachers.
Language skills help with executive functioning – the ability to understand follow instructions from the teacher.
Language skills help with maths and science – terminologyand abstract concepts rely on the knowledge of language.
When kids learn to read at school, strong language skills means they can understand WHAT they read.
How can I support my child’s language skills?
Talk, read and play! Ongoing interactions and conversations with your child about things that interest them will encourage them to explore, ask questions, make comments and retell stories.
Our NEW 6 month membership has just launched – the perfect addition to your home with a high quality picture book, reading guide and play activity arriving to your door each month. Designed by speech pathologists and tested by mums, this will get your kids talking, reading, playing and succeeding!
Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies
Pace, et al. (2018). Measuring success: Within and cross-domain predictors of academic and social trajectories in elementary school, Early Childhood Research Quarterly; Volume 46, 1st Quarter 2019, Pages 112-125.