Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early childhood educators hold key to children's communication skills

Date:
November 6, 2013
Source:
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
Summary:
Researchers have completed a new examination of peer-reviewed science that reveals how early childhood educators can ignite the growth of language and communication skills in infants and toddlers. Their conclusion: it takes more than baby talk.

Researchers at UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute have completed a new examination of peer-reviewed science that reveals how early childhood educators can ignite the growth of language and communication skills in infants and toddlers. Earlier today, Nicole Gardner-Neblett and Kathleen Cranley Gallagher published the FPG team's research-based recommendations online.

"Early language and communication skills are crucial for children's success in school and beyond," said Gardner-Neblett, principal investigator for the FPG study. "Children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement."

According to Gardner-Neblett, during the first years of life, children's brains are developing rapidly, laying the foundation for learning. The interactions children have with adults influence early brain growth and learning, giving early childhood educators a crucial opportunity to provide children with interactions that can support language and communication.

Language and communication skills include a child's ability to express himself or herself through words, gestures, or facial expressions, as well as the capacity to understand others. Co-principal investigator Kathleen Gallagher said that when teachers provide children with higher levels of language stimulation during the first years of life, children in turn have better language skills. "When teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words," said Gallagher.

The FPG researchers said that many early child care educators can do more to actively engage children and facilitate the development of language and communication. "More high-quality language interactions between children and adults will provide children with the kinds of experiences that can foster their growth," said Gardner-Neblett.

With a grant from the PNC Foundation, Gardner-Neblett and Gallagher reviewed the current science and then streamlined their findings into ten recommended practices. More Than Baby Talk: 10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers recommends one-on-one and small-group interactions that are tried and tested to support the development of language and communication in infants and toddlers from a variety of backgrounds.

Among the FPG team's recommended interactions are responding to children's vocalizations and speech, eliciting conversations, and using complex grammar and a rich vocabulary. Each practice includes the science that supports it and examples of how to use it.

The"Get Chatty" recommendation, for instance, suggests commenting on routines like hand-washing, as they occur: "We are washing our hands. We are making lots of big bubbles." Educators also can use longer sentences, draw connections between children's lives and books, and use songs to tell stories.

Gardner-Neblett and Gallagher said that many of the practices work well in combination with one another. They added that early childhood educators should keep in mind children develop differently and at varying rates.

In addition, while educators play key roles, they are not the only group that can make a marked difference for infants and toddlers.

"We think parents could use these same practices with their young children," said Gardner-Neblett. "By using these strategies at home, parents can provide children with the rich language exposure and opportunities they need to enhance their language and communication, helping them to achieve in preschool and beyond."

The report can be accessed online at: http://mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/sites/mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/files/imce/documents/BabyTalk_WEB.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. "Early childhood educators hold key to children's communication skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106152433.htm>.
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. (2013, November 6). Early childhood educators hold key to children's communication skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106152433.htm
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. "Early childhood educators hold key to children's communication skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106152433.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins