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.

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In her book, Use Your Words:  How Teacher Talk Affects Children’s Learning, Carol Garhart Mooney asks:  Can you think of a time when a child was trying to tell you something important but you missed it because you focused on the wrong thing?  What clues did the child give you that might have helped?  What questions might you have asked to get at the child’s concerns?