I am currently working once a week as a Speech-Language Pathologist and I’m a full-time mommy the rest of the week, so this summer I will be posting more on parenting topics as they relate to literacy, speech, language, early intervention, etc. I typically try to do one or two educational thing/s with my toddler every day. I’ll try to post about our daily activities on here 🙂
Today after my son (19 months) was done eating breakfast in his highchair, he saw crayons on the table and wanted to use them. He loves his letters so he asked me to write down “M” for mommy and “D” for daddy. I didn’t have any paper nearby and I was too lazy to move. There was a stack of paper plates on the table so I wrote some letters on the back of a paper plate and he read the letters as I wrote them down. He found this extremely entertaining so he asked me to get more plates and draw more pictures and write more letters. He usually tries to get out of his highchair right after he is done eating but he liked scribbling on the back of the paper plates so much that he stayed in there for an extra 40 minutes.
I am a big advocate of the Reggio Emilia Approach for young children. When I see that my child is interested in something, I expand on it and use it as a learning opportunity. Today I saw that he loved the idea of writing/scribbling on the back of paper plates so I let him explore and have fun with that. I have been trying to work on his fine motor skills with crayons and teach him to stabilize with one hand and draw with the other hand; he was finally able to do that today for almost a minute using the paper plates. When you focus on your kids’ interests you’ll be surprised what they can achieve.
The point: Sit back for a few minutes every day, observe your children throughout the day when you have time, and see what it is that they’re interested in, then let them lead. Try to figure out what motivates them. Use those highly desired objects and activities to elicit language and teach them new things. I was able to review all his letters with him and work on his grasp today because he was interested enough in this activity and let me help him for 30+ minutes. We had so much fun with this simple activity.
A little bit about the Reggio Emilia approach: The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the center of its philosophy. The foundation of the Reggio Emilia approach lies in its unique view of the child. In this approach, there is a belief that children have rights and should be given opportunities to develop their potential. The child is also viewed as being an active constructor of knowledge. Rather than being seen as the target of instruction, children are seen as having the active role of an apprentice. (Katz 1993)
Katz, Lilian (1993). Edwards, C., Gandini, L., Forman, G. (Eds), ed. The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation. p. 19-37.