As small children begin to organize their worlds and translate thoughts into meaningful sentences understood by others, a sense of accomplishment develops. They realize that through language, much information can be gained about the world, and others can be influenced to respond to their needs. They also learn that language is a key to friendship.
The development of language in small children can be supported most effectively by educators and parents when they frequently converse with the children and encourage them to hold conversations with each other. These verbal experiences strengthen not only the development of language, but also thought, which contributes to the child’s ability to be more self-controlling. It is important to use concrete terms and normal inflection and pronunciation as in adult-to-adult conversation when talking to small children. They should never be “talked down” to.
How You Can Facilitate This Learning
Today’s Blog activity comes from our book, Magic Circle: Language Development and Social-Emotional Learning for the Early Years. The process we call a Sharing Circle with older students, elementary through high school, is referred to as a Magic Circle with pre-schoolers and kindergarten students. As with Sharing Circles, Magic Circles are carefully structured safe social environments wherein young children can perform tasks, express themselves verbally, and receive positive acknowledgement for these actions and expressions.
Oral language is the principle mode of expression of Magic Circles. By speaking to their fellow circle members (peers and leader) and by listening to what others have to say, children’s growing abilities to verbally communicate are utilized and strengthened. Verbal expression is then built upon to inspire other forms of expression including art, reading, singing and drama.
Here is a Magic Circle Task entitled I Can Draw a Picture of Myself and Tell You About It for you to use with your children.
The Magic Circle has the same rules and structure as the Sharing Circle. If you want more information?
• Leading a Sharing Circle
• Sharing Circle Rules
• Books and Resources
• Free Activities
Here’s How It’s Done
Gather everyone into a circle. Explain the rules for sharing, and get agreement from everyone that they will follow the rules.
Magic Circle Rules:
- Everyone gets a turn to share, including the leader.
- You can skip your turn if you wish.
- Listen to the person who is sharing.
- There are no interruptions, probing, put-downs, or gossip.
- Share the time equally.
After everyone has shared, who wants to share, ask the discussion questions.
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Thanks so much for reading!