Importance of a Language-rich Environment
A nursery school can be one of the environments that can have a large impact on the child’s ability to develop their language skills. This is especially true in Bangkok, where learning multiple languages may be expected of the child.
The ability of a child to absorb language skills and increase their vocabulary on a weekly or even daily basis is determined mainly by the adults in the child’s life.
While the child may enjoy talking to the other children in their nursery school class, other children are rarely able to communicate new words and thoughts. The child will naturally look to the adults around them for cues about new words and what they mean.
This means that every adult who regularly plays an active role in a child’s life should see themselves as partially responsible for the development of the child’s language and vocabulary skills.
How a Parent Can Help Their Child Develop
The main thing to remember about this phase of a child’s development is that your child doesn’t have ‘off-hours’ when they’re not learning. They’re constantly absorbing new words and meanings as long as they’re awake.
But they can’t continue to absorb these new words unless they’re being engaged in conversation and asked questions to stimulate them to try out their new words. Parents should be engaging their child in conversations in every interaction with their child.
It’s also important for parents to supply the meanings of each new word the child learns. Children will pick up new words throughout the day, some of them will be fun to say, but they may not know the meanings of the words they’re repeating.
It’s up to parents to connect the dots between the word and its meaning, and in some cases to teach the child the correct usage and context of the word in question.
Role-Play and Games Helps Your Child Retain New Words
This is where games and role-playing can come in handy. Create a role-playing game that uses the word in the right context. Through acting out a role in the game, your child will begin to understand how a word can and should be used in the ‘real’ world.
If your child learns the names of animals, have them act as a farmer would by feeding and taking care of the different animals, referring to them by name and discussing the differences between them to ensure they’re able to refer to each animal by its proper name. A horse is not a mule, nor a zebra.
Making them aware of small differences like these can teach them to pay more attention to words that refer to similar things.
Art can also play a vital role in word learning and retention. Sketches and drawings, especially when created by your child, will help a lot in getting your child to remember both the word and its meaning.
Understand that a Parent is Also a Teacher
Always remember that, as a parent, you’re also the teacher when school’s out for the day. Your child’s mind never stops absorbing knowledge, so you need to be available to satisfy their constant thirst for learning.
Don’t just sit your child down in front of the TV and go on about your household chores and other interests. Your child can learn from your activities, so include them. As well as supplying your child with opportunities to learn, it will strengthen your bond with your child when they feel like they’re involved in your day to day life.
The more you talk with them about their day and yours, the more opportunities you’ll find to broaden their vocabularies to include all aspects of the world around them.
If you want to learn more about some ways that you can encourage your child’s development in language and vocabulary skills, contact the education specialists at Apple Tree International Kindergarten in Bangkok for a consultation. They have both a kindergarten and nursery school that focuses on an early years education programme to better prepare your child to enter school and excel in their formal education.