Promoting communication skills in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on April 3, 2012

in Centers, Dramatic Play, Telephone Center, Telephone Central

In my classroom, even the quietest children have something to say when you hand them a telephone. This may look like just a bunch of old phones to you, but it is actually one of the best ways to get kids talking, role playing, and using their imagination all at the same time…

I have been collecting phones off and on throughout the school year.  I started out the school year with only four phones but quickly discovered that everyone loves to talk on the telephone in my classroom so I have been adding to the collection when I happen to find a phone that someone is getting rid of…

There are days when my classroom looks like a preschool telethon.  I keep all the phones in a basket on one of our shelves and about once or twice a month, the children like to drag them out and play telephone…

As I listen to my students talk on the phone, I can hear a lot of their parents doing the talking. The children often even stand or use body language like mom or dad or they use language that sounds like mom or dad. I bet mom and dad have no idea how much their children are listening to and watching them as they talk on the phone…

But the best part of playing with the telephones is that everyone is talking. They are communicating. Sometimes, they are communicating with each other through some sort of role play…

And other times they are only having a conversation with their imaginations. I hear the children talking like secretaries, moms, dads, teachers, doctors, and other people or occupations that are familiar or interesting to the children as they talk on the telephones…

We also have a few cell phones (no batteries included) available for play. I will find the children having conversations in just about every corner of the classroom (even under the tables)…

Most of the time, I just observe as a child goes walking by me with a cell phone or cordless phone in hand while talking up a storm.  I rarely notice what is being said, but what I do notice is that the children are quite intense and focused on their imagined conversations. I do not interrupt them in the process.  Besides, my mom taught me that it was rude to interrupt someone when they are on the phone…

The use of telephones promotes all types of learning as well as growth and development. As the children play, they often use paper and pencils to jot down a few notes or they will dial a certain number many times until they can get someone to answer the phone. In other words, we have a little vocabulary, communication, dramatic play, pre-writing skills, number recognition, and fine motor skills all in action at the same time….

I am still on the look out for unique or old fashioned phones to add to my collection but I don’t want to discount the modern day phones because the modern phones and cell phones are what the children see the people in their world using. I want to be sure that I am doing my best to promote play with tools that are realistic in the children’s daily lives…

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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