- Classrooms for young children are vibrant and full of life. Children enjoy learning through several ways – talking, listening, using toys, working with material, painting and drawing, singing,
- dancing, running and jumping. As Teachers, we use all these ways to work with our children.
Language is the medium through which children talk to themselves and to others, and it is with words that they begin to construct and get a grip on their reality. The ability to understand andNational Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022
use language clearly and cogently is essential for learning.
Conversations in the classroom can be of two kinds:
a. Free conversations: During free conversations, the Teacher gathers a few children around and allows them to talk about interesting things that have occurred during the day, on their way to school or any information they wish to share. The task for the Teacher is to draw children out with simple questions that will help them to talk about their experiences.
b. Structured conversations: Structured conversations are planned and organized by Teachers. These typically occur in the morning hour to assemble children together and talk and think through a topic together. Topics are often about children’s daily life events and happenings, and their feelings.
- When all the children sit in a circle with the Teacher and talk, this kind of conversation time is called Circle Time. Children enjoy sitting in a circle and gain a feeling of togetherness, and
- the Teacher can see every child during this period. It is good to have one session of Circle Time every day.
- When a specific topic is chosen, there is a focus which helps increase children’s language, information and understanding of that topic. Conversations around a specific topic (e.g., vegetables) can be held using real objects. E.g., while talking about vegetables, real vegetables can be used so that children can look at them, feel them, talk about their shape, colour, texture, and even taste them. Teacher can also use picture cards to explain further and even construct a story around vegetables.
- One other possibility is for the Teacher to demonstrate small experiments at this time e.g.,placing a bowl of water in the middle of the circle and putting small objects in to see what sinks and what floats. This helps children talk about why this would happen and hypothesize on properties of objects.
Questions with yes and no answers are not very helpful at this time. Questions that push children to speak, describe something using more words and sentences are useful. Children should never be reprimanded for giving incorrect answers. All children should get equal opportunities to participate and to express themselves without being judged.
Show and Tell sessions
- The concept of ‘Show and Tell’ has been a great success in India and around the world in developing public speaking and listening skills and promoting communication and interaction among children in the early years. All children in the Foundational stage will have the opportunity (along with their Teachers) to participate in an enjoyable ‘Show and tell’ session at least once every week.
- This will involve children and Teachers bringing in their favourite toys, games, family photos, flowers, books, original stories, and personal anecdotes (e.g., about family members, friends, festivals, experiences, holidays, favourite lessons that week, favourite subjects), and speaking for a few minutes about them in front of the class. These ‘Show and Tell’ sessions would initially be in the children’s home languages, but eventually would also include other languages that children are learning.
- Children and Teachers would also ask questions and give comments during or at the end of each presentation to make the sessions more fun and interactive. Teachers can lead the way with their own presentations to set an example. They must participate throughout, while encouraging discussion, in order to truly bond with children and for children to bond with each other.
National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022