There has been a lot of talk lately about the Ontario government’s move towards providing full-day kindergarten and incorporating a play-based curriculum. A play-based curriculum means that children learn through play. The idea behind this is that when children are given the opportunity to explore an exciting and stimulating environment, they will learn without even realising they are learning.
You can create your own stimulating environment for your child at home. Try this activity to create a language-rich environment while doing a simple, inexpensive craft:
Play dough Ingredients:
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup flour
- food colouring (optional)
- Action words (verbs): Talk about how you are pouring the ingredients, mixing them together, stirring with a spoon, squishing, rolling, patting, poking, and cutting the play-dough.
- Description words (adjectives): Discuss how the play-dough feels sticky or squishy. Roll a ball and make it smooth. Touch the water and talk about how it is wet, and contrast that to the dry flour.
- Location words (prepositions): Maybe the flour is beside the salt, on the table. The ingredients go in the bowl. Make a tree out of your play-dough and a person to go under the tree.
- People, places or things (nouns): This can be almost anything! Names of the ingredients, the tools you are using, the objects you are building, the names of those participating, names of shapes, numbers etc…..
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Choose a word or two to focus on from each type listed above.
- Use those words 5 or more times during the activity.
- Encourage your child to actively participate, by doing, asking, feeling, and commenting.
For more information on Ontario’s play-based curriculum visit: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/kindergarten/whatwillmychildlearnanddo.html
Written by: Jana Zalmanowitz, Speech-Language Pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada. (www.speechtherapycentres.com)
Allergy season is here in full force and with it comes sneezing, watery eyes and often itching throat. Aside from these apparent symptoms, allergies can also lead to ear infections in children due to irritation in the Eustachian tube. There are very close ties associated with recurrent ear infections and delays in speech and language development. Children who have suffered from several ear infections may have mild hearing loss making it difficult for them to hear low intensity grammatical markers such as past tense /–ed/ and third person plural /-s/, and high frequency consonant sounds such as /s/. Children learn these grammatical markers, and sound production, first by imitation which is made very difficult if they are having trouble hearing these specific sounds and markers. It is very important to be aware of the status of your child’s hearing, even in the spring and summer, as it could be effecting their speech and language development.
Written by: Stephanie Mathias, Speech-Language Pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada
For many parents, juggling work, school, homework and extra-curriculars is an exhausting feat. Now on top of all that your child is seeing a speech-language pathologist and they are giving you more HOMEWORK!
Below are some practical tips that I give to my client’s parents on how to work on speech and language without adding hours to the day.
TIP #1 – Incorporate “speech time” into your pre-existing, everyday routines. For example, on your drive to school find words that start with your child’s goals and talk about them on your ride. If your child is working on the “k” sound, then have your child say “car” every time they see a car. If your child is working on the pronouns “he/she” have him/her talk about what people are doing. For example “he is walking the dog”, “she is washing the car”.
TIP #2 – Keep practice time short. Five to ten minutes of practice is long enough to make a difference but short enough that it is manageable. Do not try to correct your child all day long. This will drive everyone crazy. Keep the practice to your “speech time”.
TIP #3 – Enlist the help of older siblings. Show your child’s older brother or sister what sound/concept you are working on and let them help out when you are busy. Most older siblings are able to provide a good speech and language model and enjoy helping out when it involves games and toys.
TIP #4 – Set realistic goals. Come up with a schedule that works for you. If Wednesdays are your busiest day then do not put pressure on yourself to practice on that day. You will only feel upset and guilty if you don’t get to practice. Set a schedule and try your best to stick to it. Understand that some practice is better than no practice. Aim for 3-5 times a week at first, and then if possible increase that to 7 times a week.
Stay positive and encourage your child to do the same. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Written by: Carolyn Davidson, speech-language pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada Ltd.
“Is it too confusing to learn two language simultaneously?”
“Will learning two languages cause our child’s speech or language skills to be delayed?”
“How should we teach our child two languages?”
These questions are typical concerns of parents considering to use more than one language at home. The first and most important suggestion for parents is to ensure you are speaking a language that you are comfortable and proficient in when communicating with your child. For example, if you are fluent in Spanish, then speak Spanish to your child. There is no evidence or research to suggest that learning two languages causes language delays. In fact, many children who are exposed to more than one language outperform their monolingual peers on both verbal and non-verbal tests of intelligence.
One method for teaching multiple languages at home is the “One Parent One Language” approach, where each parent speaks a specific language to his/her child all the time. For example, mom speaks English while dad speaks Spanish.
Another approach involves using a different language during different routines. For example, English during dinnertime and Spanish during bath time.
Just remember that the basic concept is to keep the languages separate in order to minimize confusion. Both approaches are equally as effective; choosing simply depends on which one best suits your family.
For more information, please visit: http://www.speechtherapycentres.com/