Have you given thought to the concept that when young children hear judgement words (lovely, nice, beautiful, good, bad, naughty, mean) they often internalize and personalize these words?  For example, if a young child hears “That’s not very nice.” it is felt as “I’m not very nice.”  How can we move from using judgement words?  One way is to practice using descriptive and clear language  that focuses on the behavior and not the child. By saying “Biting hurts” you describe the behavior and its consequences, it is clear and not judgmental.  By saying “Ouch, that hurt Will.” You are showing empathy for the child who was hurt and helping children see the impact of their actions in language they understand.  If we value language as a powerful teaching tool, we will be able to use language to support and guide young children through daily life in the Preschool.

Friends, it’s time to line up.” “All my friends, come to circle.”  ” Billy, hold your friend’s hand.”   Is it appropriate to name one child as another’s friend?  Do we know for sure they truly are friends?  Preschool is a critical time when young children are learning about friendship, should we be careless with the term, “friend”?  What do we call the group?  What is the professional and accurate way to address a group?  Do we use “children”  ” boys and girls” or “preschoolers“?  What about individuals?  If we make an effort to call each child by his or her name, does that support the value we place on relationships and individualization?  While using the term “friends” occasionally may not  be an issue, the habitual over use  should  lead us to question ourselves.  Communication is at the heart of our work. If we strive for a level of conscious communication, we reach a new level of professionalism.

Resources that help us look at our language:

Katz,L &McClellan, D. (1999). Fostering Children’s Social Competence: 1999 (2nd Edition).  Washington DC.NAEYC

Murray, Carol Garboden. Creating a Culture that Acknowledges the Power of Words