Developing Language Skills in Nursery School: Strategies for Language Acquisition

Herald as the road map of cultures and the corridors of wisdom, language is essentially the conduit of life. These are one of the first skills that little ones will pick up on their life journey, and they will need them every day. According to research, up to 90% of a children’s brain development occurs by the age of 5, including language processing. It’s therefore important to hone nursery school language skills as early and as effectively as possible. Here are some tips to kickstart the learning process: 

Sing Nursery Rhymes Together

Ah, the age-old trick of nursery rhymes. There’s a reason why these remain one of the most effective means of imparting language skills in toddlers.  Besides merely keeping children enthralled, they make quite the educational tool, be it at school or within your living room. 

Neural connections grow stronger with the repeated, catchy tunes, which also enhance musical intelligence, giving kids the ability to distinguish: 

  • Tone 
  • Rhythm
  • Timbre
  • Pitch etc.

Nursery songs such as counting or alphabet songs, for example, arm children with the very building blocks of language. They can learn how to pronounce different letters and words of objects that they probably interact with every day. 

Know When to Ask Questions

Questions trigger curiosity and encourage a child to wander in their imagination. It opens up their thoughts and also helps them to question their reality. But when thrown in at the wrong times, they can derail a train of thought and hamper language acquisition.

Moreover, a flurry of questions can also make little ones feel pressured which won’t do her learning any good. So let the conversation flow naturally and take the hints to ask a question once they complete their thought. And when you do, keep the questions open-ended to allow room for self-expression.

Comment on Gestures 

As babies start developing their communication skills, they’ll rely a great deal on their gestures to clarify what they want. For example, they can point to a book atop a cupboard to show that they want it. 

Be sure to comment during these instances. If your child points to an object do indicate desire, say the name of the object. You could even go a step further and provide details about the item such as:

  • Color 
  • Texture 
  • Size, etc. 

With enough frequency, comments allow children to better understand items in their reality. 

Don’t Take Over. Take Turns

Teachers and parents tend to dominate conversations, more so when trying to teach little ones how to talk. However, building conversation skills works a lot like tennis. One party kickstarts the action and gives ample time to get a response before chipping in again. Both parties need to have ample back and forth to keep the action going. 

This serve-and-return formula works like a charm in developing a child’s verbal prowess. So include multiple turns to conversations with infants or toddlers. They might require some time to understand and offer an appropriate response, and tutors should be patient before following up with a question or a comment of their own. Let the child have ample time to process what’s been said. Over time as their language skills grow, these responses time will dwindle until they reach normalcy. 

Developing Linguistic Intelligence Through Reading

Reading can also be great for infants. It can help to cultivate a passion for language, while also increasing their exposure to new words. What’s more, reading aloud also gives little ones opportunities to practice their speech. 

Besides improving language skills, reading can also: 

  • Spur creativity 
  • Improve focus
  • Enhance parent/teacher-child bonds
  • Support cognitive growth at large

We highly recommend learn-to-read programs, such as those where children have to fill out missing prepositions or words in a sentence. Any reading material for children should also have lots of visual stimulation to illustrate what’s being talked about, given that the human mind processes visuals up to 60,000x faster than text. 

Descend to the Child’s Level

Children’s linguistic intelligence is of course not at the same level as ours. Teachers, parents, and caregivers should do well to remember this at all times. While it is important to introduce new words to their vocabulary every so often, it helps to keep language plain and simple.  But it’s not just about words. It’s also about keeping the structure straightforward.

For example, if a child often converses in 5-word sentences, reply in a similar number of words. Ultimately, conversations with toddlers should involve very concise and easily understandable sentence structures. In other words, keep your sentences short.

Repetition is the Key to Linguistic Success 

Repetition might be mundane and exhausting for adults. For children, on the other hand, repetition is the key ingredient in the recipe for language success. No matter how many times children have heard a story, song, or word, they still stand to learn from it at the umpteenth time of asking. It is extremely important in infants and can catalyze the progress of language acquisition. And that rounds out our strategies on nursery school developing skills. Be sure to share this article to help parents and schools across India.