Language, Play and Social Communication
Language, Play and Social Communication
“In play it is as though (the child) were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of the magnifying glass, PLAY contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and is itself a major source of development.” Lev Vygotsky
Play presents children with a strong oppurtunity for growth as it meets the needs of the whole, individual child. All domains of children’s development- cognitive, social, emotional and physical- are intricately intertwined. Play benefits each of these skills in direct and indirect ways. Children learn and practice cognitive skills including language, problem solving, creativity, and self regulation. Socio-emotional needs can be seen in chidren’s ability to interact with others, negotiate, and compromise. They also practice strategies to cope with fear, anger and frustration. More over, block building, drawing, running, and jumping all contribute to the development of fine and gross motor skills. When children have the chance to direct their own learning through play, they are able to address their own immediate and developemental needs and find activities that are most conducive to their individual learning styles.
Parents are children’s first play partners. Changing life styles and busy schedules have become barriers for parents to engage their children in active play. Early involvement from adults as initiators, directors, and partners in play serves to scaffold young children’s abilities so that play structured by an adult is more sustained and sophisticated than the child would be able to achieve alone or with peers.
When play is fun and child centred, children are motivated to engage in oppurtunities to learn. Children will learn to play through play. Children will learn to play on both social and cognitive continums’ of play.
Language and Thinking Skills
Language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or non-verbally making using gestures, eye gaze, looking, facial expressions and body language.
Three parts that form Language are semantic (meaning), syntax (structure) and pragmatic language (practicat application of language). A thought leads to language which turns into a conversation.
The main focus of the Language session will be on Pragmatic Language, i.e. practical application of Language which will majorly focus on purposes of communication, modification of language according to person one is communicating to or the context or environment one is in; leading to a conversation. Thinking skills are targeted to make the child an active being.
Play can be a major factor in developing an understanding of one’s self and others. Play can help children to regulate their emotions by providing an outlet to deal with stress in the moment, allowing children to revisit and understand disturbing experiences after the fact, and giving them the tools to cope with distress in the future. Play gives children means to exert control over their environment and to regulate their thoughts and feelings. It offers children the oppurtunity to exercise and master all kinds of feelings in a risk free context by exploring and modifying their emotional experiences. Through play children will learn to regulate their emotions, emotional understanding and emotional expression.
My Whole Child provide services ensuring that they are tied to meaningful, functional outcomes and incorporate activities that relate to natural learning environments. We suggest that parents use one-on-one services in conjunction with group services to teach specific-skills that the child will then use in the group setting.
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Questions & Answers
- In psychological terminology, the cognitive abilities behind conscious self-control of thought, action and emotion are known as executive function. They involve a group of related processes including working memory, planning, organizing, sequencing, task completion, attention, inhibition of impulses and cognitive flexibility.
- Being an Active Student Early executive function abilities have been implicated in school readiness as well as the development of memory, attention, intelligence, morality and emotional regulation. Some skills being targetted through this session: Understanding and following Multiple instuctions like take out your maths book, open pg. 26 and do question 3; executive functions, task completion, reporting to the teacher after completion of work, asking for help, understanding the social context, picking up social cues by observation, raising hand in my turn to speak, not speaking out of turn, responding to school bell or a group instruction etc.
- Children turn from passive to active beings, moving from rigidities to likes and dislikes, regulating their emotions, when parents can delay their gratifications without a fear of a break down, and children learn the skill of free play, parents can have some time of their own. For parents to learn to act smartly with their children, they can always learn some techniques with one on one training sessions, Parent Training Groups with atleast 5 set of parents ready to come in for discussions and learnings like Using narrations, How do I talk with my child? Playing with my child? How to plan a play date for my child? Preparing my child for a Birthday party and many more.