an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning


May 16, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Listening and Young Children

Listening and Young Children

We teach our children so many other skills, but do we really think about teaching them to listen?

How often do we as parents and teachers complain about children not listening?

The art of listening is something they’ll use throughout their entire lives and while it usually takes a back seat to learning how to talk, walk, ABC’s… it’s just as important a skill. In some ways maybe even more important.u18822434

There are many fun ways to “play” while teaching listening skills. On any of the activities below be sure to comment on what a good listener they are. That makes the connection to the value of listening. That is the teaching.

  1. Talk with your child about ordinary things that may happen during the day and question them on things you both hear. For example- talk about the sounds you hear as you are outside like birds, airplanes, traffic.
  2. Read books aloud to your child asking questions about what they think will happen next. At the end of the story, question them about events in the story to see how well they were listening. No “yes” or “no” questions, we want information shared.
  3. Play games that encourage listening skills, such as “Simon Says,” or “I Spy.” Games like this can also help make car trips easier for everyone. Yes, even “Simon Says” – just do smaller motions like: turn your face to the window, rub your nose, tap your lips….
  4. Sing one of your child’s favorite songs together. Sing again (which children love to do) and change important words in the song to see if they notice. They will point out your “mistakes.”

Now listening skills are not just about the fun or play activities. There are other components, that as adults we need to use when talking with young children which will foster good listening.

  1. Kneel down to eye level. It’s easier to talk to someone when you are on the same level or can look them in the eye. Getting down to their level makes it more likely they will focus and listen to you. If it’s hard to kneel down, adapt – pick them up, sit in chairs. What’s most important is that you’re eye to eye, or on a similar level.
  2. Speak at a steady pace, in a normal voice, in a language your toddler can understand. Don’t dumb down your language (baby talk), because they understands more than you realize. If your words sound like gibberish, they’ll likely ignore you.
  3. Say it once. If your toddler doesn’t respond, gently show them the way or how to follow your directions. Saying it over and over means they don’t need to listen the first time. That is not a behavior pattern we want to set in place or encourage. Make sure your directions aren’t too wordy – one or two steps. Toddlers have a short attention span, and you’ll lose them if you don’t get to the point.
  4. Keep your word. If you tell your toddler that they must eat a good meal or they can’t have dessert, stick to it. One important part of a toddler’s development isn’t just listening to what you say, it’s also important that they know you mean it and will consistently follow through.
  5. Control your yelling. It’s often better to drop your voice tone or whisper to get your point across. When they are ignoring you, it’s tempting to yell to get them to do what you want. However, if you yell too much, your toddler could learn to tune you out, or just see this as normal. Save your yelling for times when you really need it, like when you notice your toddler is about to run out into the street. We keep telling them not to do something to another child they don’t want done to them. Do you like being yelled at?
  6. Listen to your toddler.  This seems like such common sense, but so often we do not truly listen to them. Especially at a young age, children like to be just like their mom or dad. Good role models are needed in developing good listening skills. The other benefit of listening to your young child is supporting the development of their personal sense of self-worth.
  7. It’s also good to have conversations with your toddler, even if their vocabulary isn’t completely understandable. These “pretend” conversations build strong communication skills that your toddler will use the rest of their life. Repeat what you hear them saying. Take the opportunity to expand by adding a descriptive word. This not only works on listening skills, but increases their vocabulary.

It all seems to come down to being involved and interacting with purpose with our children. Enjoy them.

I wonder what you’ll hear?

May 15, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Self-Esteem… Emotionally Healthy

Self-Esteem… Emotionally Healthy




Children who like themselves develop the confidence to try new things. The greater your child’s self-esteem, the more willing they will be to try something new and continue without giving up. It’s a skill that increases your child’s success in school and in life! When you celebrate the things that make your child special, you help increase their confidence.

  • Praise your child for trying new things even if they do not succeed at the start. Be positive and patient.
  • When praising your child begin your statement with “I like…”. Keep the praise specific and truthful.


January 27, 2013
by countryfun

A Little Catching Up

Last week was not a good one for getting posts on our activities up, but believe me we stayed good and busy inside while the cold raged outside. This post will try to catch up on some of the activities we enjoyed this past week.

It’s been all about snowmen, snowflakes and mittens this month. This week we finally got around to using our class snow storm project as a background for our “construct a snowman challenge”.

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Too cold to make snowmen outside and wanting some “larger” movement means using some of our large sheets of paper and spreading out around the playroom and kitchen for enough floor space. Drawing on large paper is a totally different experience and uses one’s motor skills and muscle groups in a different way.

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Thought you might enjoy seeing how “school” happens when the school-age are leading the play.

Taking advantage of our earlier darkness and using the light box. Can you tell we have been doing a bit of work with “patterns” recently?

Yes, we get silly (what fun would it be with kids all day if you didn’t get silly?) and it often involves stories we are reading together. Tacky Penguin  is a perfect story to get silly with especially on a cold Friday (at the end of a cold week). The kids were having so much fun singing Tacky’s song I thought I’d try to get it on tape. (It was way better without the camera running, but you’ll get the idea.)


With mixed ages it’s also about finding time to be sure the developmental needs of everyone are being met. Placing beads on sticks is great fine motor practice for young ones. What I hadn’t expected was it becoming a birthday cake. Love seeing imagination in action.

We also managed to get in lots of practice with finding similarities and differences or matching between our homemade snowflake and mitten games and some iPad apps. 


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