Rhode Island College
“Some early theorists suggested that language development is largely the result of modeling- that children simply imitate the speech of others” (McDevitt & Ormrod, p.326) The theorist Lev Vygotsky believed that much learning takes places when children play. He also believes that language and development build on each other. “When children play, they constantly use language” (Mooney, p.83) I am constantly seeing examples to support this in my classroom. Toddlers will often imitate their peers as well as adults. One would be when I have a teacher directed activity, whether it be an art activity, or a gross motor activity, etc. The children are instructed to perform the activity. Children will mimic in instances where it isn’t prompted as well, if a parent is saying good-bye to their child in the morning, usually 4 or 5 of the children will say “good-bye!” If I am asking a child to do something, I will often hear another repeating me.
“Infants and toddlers sometimes need numerous repetitions of a particular word before they understand and use it” (McDevitt and Ormrod, p 333) When I am about to start my circle time and my toddlers are squirming all around, I have a neat little transition trick that always gets their attention quickly! I will say ‘If you’re ready to listen, please sit down on the rug and put your hands on your head’, and so forth, the children love to play this game and it will most of the time get them ready to listen for direction. When I say the words ‘If you’re ready to listen’, I also put my hands on my head, so the toddlers know to do so, this would be an example of fast mapping. The children love to play this game and at the same time they are learning parts about their body without realizing it.
“Encouraging children to express their ideas about language (and about anything else) may bring out countless tales” (Cohen, D. Stern, V. et.al. p.169) When I read this quote, I thought of all the great imaginations of the children in my classroom. They love to pretend play and I love watching them do so. There is