Early Language Acquisition Workshop With An Expert
On 9th September, AIS held a workshop in the Early Learning Village for parents, with one of our affiliated paediatric speech and language therapists, Hemma Patel.
Bringing teachers and parents onto the same page, Hemma Patel, gave a much anticipated talk about the importance of building vocabulary in early years. Reading and writing are enormous academic milestones many parents worry about and want to prepare their child for. From early phonics toys, books, and even after-school classes, to choosing the school that will support their child’s development, parents constantly wonder what else they could do to aid their child in acquiring literacy skills.
The importance of Vocabulary in Early Years Language Development
So why is vocabulary important? It seems slightly less significant on the long list of things needed to read and write successfully: phonetic awareness, syntax, decoding, blending and knowledge of parts of speech. However it is actually the vocabulary where parents and teachers can make the most difference in the early years. Building of vocabulary happens naturally, through conversations and play. Hemma advised against tabletop activities such as worksheets which are often introduced too early on, and focus too much on repetition rather than real understanding.
Vocabulary is important because it supports language development, giving children a rich bank of words together with their meanings to expand from. Reading in itself does not, after all, guarantee understanding. Hemma invited the audience to share words that come to their minds when they hear the word “cat”. Very quickly a long list of vocabulary was amassed: whiskers, pet, paw, tail, domesticated, and many more. For many parents who were present, it was a surprising revelation that children with poor vocabulary are unable to make these connections. Those who do, however, tend to be deeper thinkers, are more successful academically, and enjoy better career prospects in the future.
We are ever so grateful to Hemma Patel for opening up these conversations, bringing parents into discussions, and contributing to the communal effort the education of all children at the Early Learning Village has been. We are glad to be affirmed in the conviction that the Pre-Lit program we have instituted in our preschool classes is in line with the latest research and dialogue in the field of speech and language development.
Personalised Approach to Language and Literacy in AIS
Each child’s language development and learning is individual, and happens at different rates. Your child’s educators are sensitive observers who understand what each child needs in order to be a successful learner. In the Early Years we intentionally look for opportunities to support your child’s communication skills. Teachers provide daily speaking and listening activities that are well matched to children’s developing abilities and interests, drawing upon observations and assessments to plan for progression.
Our curricula includes daily activities to support literacy skills development through many modes:
- Movement & dance
- Early reading & writing
Specialist Classes for Early Years in AIS
In the Early Years program our specialist classes are: music, PE, and Mandarin. We have CCAs on things like STEAM and robotics though Teachers use music and movement to incorporate elements of literacy such as pitch, tone, or phonetic awareness.
If you wish to understand more about the curriculum and Early Years Program please don’t hesitate to contact our Admissions Team here and we would be happy to assist you.