The Earliest Learners
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First, let’s take a look at the “language” part of Language and Literacy. Language is how we communicate through the spoken word, listen to and understand the spoken word, and how to take turns in conversation. These language skills develop similarly for children raised in both bilingual and single language homes. For bilingual children, using two languages becomes the norm.
We are going to start our conversation about language at the very beginning: communicating with babies and toddlers. For some of you, this next section will be a walk down memory lane.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Are you doing or have you communicated with your child in ways that we just saw?
- What are some examples of language activities you do with your child?
- What songs do you sing to/with your child?
Learning at Home Resources from PBS Kids and PBS Parents
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Welcome Baby Margaret - All of the people in Daniel’s neighborhood sing a song to welcome Daniel’s new sister, baby Margaret. Singing can help your child learn to listen, respond to music, and imitate sounds.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Daniel Loves His Baby Sister - Just like Daniel sings to his baby sister, brothers, sisters and older children in your family can sing to babies to help them learn language and respond to music.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Stories - Let your child soak up the sounds of your voice as you read Daniel Tiger’s stories.
Sid the Science Kid: Sandbox Symphony - You and your child can click on sandbox music blocks to make sounds and music. If your child has heard these sounds previously, ask him to name or imitate the ones that are familiar. For babies, you can name the sounds so that they can become familiar.
PBS Parents: Counting Games for Babies & Toddlers - Wiggle your toes! Twirl your fingers! Turning favorite nursery rhymes into counting games for kids is an engaging way for your child to learn to count and begin understanding one-to-one correspondence.
PBS Parents: Cookie Monster Hand Puppets - Entertain your child with a homemade Cookie Monster puppet. You might have Cookie sing, talk, or introduce new items to your child.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Songs - Sing songs to your baby to help her imitate sounds and learn language. In these songs from Mister Rogers, you might find an old favorite from your childhood or a song that’s new to you and your little one.
PBS Parents: Action Rhymes and Fingerplay Books - From “Miss Mary Mack” to “The Eentsy, Weentsy Spider,” you can read and sing about some favorite toe-tapping, hand-clapping books and songs.