Will You Have an Elephant in Your Classroom? An Inquiry Approach to Preschoolers’ Early Language Learning
Lessons to Consider• Children need sound language and literacy skills to communicate with others.• A language rich classroom includes an inquiry based environment• Students need to be exposed to high quality literacy materials & activities to support learning.• Effective early childhood settings are led by highly responsive teachers who encourage children to contribute to discussions and share ideas with each other.• Socially competent classrooms have children who feel a sense of belonging to the community of the classroom. This creates a world of sharing, turn taking and creativity.
Child Driven Interest• Find an interest which supports different kinds of learning.• Look for those moments to spark the childrens interest to foster questions and curiosity.• Follow the children’s lead to give them ownership. Engagement in an investigation is an outlet for language & social interaction.
Use the Environment & Activities to Encourage Language Learning• Language & literacy skills allow students to communicate with others.• Oral language skills need to be taught through the environment.• Communicating effectively with others can develop healthier social and emotional lives.• Plan developmentally appropriate activities that encourage children to feel part of the classroom and school community.
Weave Literacy Learning Into Activities• Reading and writing are closely related so exposure to print contributes to awareness of the importance of the written word.• A literacy rich environment uses a variety of print materials. (Fiction & non fiction, poetry, magazines, newspaper, environmental print, teacher writing and drawing)• Make lists, check the newspaper for the weather, use the Smart board so the students will see the importance of communication through writing.
Going Deeper Through Encouragement• Oral language through conversations• Written language with letter writing• Social activities for practicing emerging language skills like field trips• Constantly change/add to the classroom library• Make classroom books with the students artwork/words
Join the Village • It does take an entire village to raise a child and I hope to become a small part of that village. I will have an elephant in my room or maybe a horse, but the interest will always be an investigation filled with a rich vocabulary!