“When I get on the floor you all come over!”
This is an actual quote I overheard during a visit to an early years setting.
Why did this make me feel so uncomfortable?
It wasn’t just that the Practitioner seemed frustrated and annoyed by being joined by a small group of children (if children annoy you, don’t choose a career working with them). For me, the most troubling part of this observation was that the Practitioner clearly didn’t know that by being at the same level as the children, this makes her more approachable and interesting to them.
Back to basics!!!
We must be at the same level as the child if we want to engage with them. When we are at the same level as a child we can see the world from their viewpoint.
When we are at the same level as a child they can see our face and use our facial expressions to help them understand that words we are saying to them. It is also true then, that we can see the child’s face and by observing their facial expressions gain some insight into how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.
For the child with speech and language difficulties it is essential that adult’s get down to the child’s level, this enables you to see what they are looking at/interested in and being a ‘tuned in’ adult, you can then use this to initiate an interaction with that child. This has all been achieved without putting any pressure on the child to talk.
It is simple yet effective!
Be at the same level as the child and enjoy the fact that children will be drawn to you.
Quality Interactions, Thriving Language