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Communication And Language Books


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

This might seem a strange request but has anyone got recommendations for good books to read and help me as a Playgroup Leader communicate better with children I look after? I find myself in some sticky situations and don't know how to get out of them exactly ...

 

Like today one little boy got up out of his seat at snack time having only taken 2 bites of the piece of toast and when I asked was he finished he said "am full up". I then tried ineffectively to get him to take his table mat and cup to the trolley as we do for tidy up and look after ourselves. I get frustrated because I am saying the same thing over and over and it just doesn't seem to register with children. I know we should be consistent but my deputy is complaining about my voice levels becoming increased and she feels the children might be picking up on it too often.

 

I know it might be age related with our children - they are just turned 3 and my own personality is not one entirely of calmness and confidence hence my frustration. I know I am trying too hard but my deputy cites her previous setting and the leader there being always on the one level in terms of voice levels and seemingly has no problem getting the children to co-operate with her requests.

 

Our Playgroup closes on Tuesday week for the summer and I would really love to read up on this whole aspect and try to improve my confidence levels and communication skills!!

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Would it help for you to squat down and get to eye level with the child, say their name calmly and state what you'd like them to do, pointing if necessary. Allow time for the child to process the information you've given them, smile, nod and point again.

 

Have you looked at the Communication Trust website? There are loads of useful things on there

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Guest terrydoo73

We were all (adults and children) sitting at a low level table and this child was right next to me. I don't think I could get much lower as I had a cup of hot water in my hand and to have walked away I felt would have lost the situation completely. I think what is annoying me is the fact that my Deputy keeps citing another setting as a model but personalities are all different and I know I don't have the confidence in myself to stand up to these jibes because I know I am not gaining any respect or command within the Playgroup amongst the children.

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Hi if we have a child that does not appear to understand what to do, we take them to show them, giving lots of praise.

Even our 2.5year olds are able to put their cup, plate etc on to the snack trolley, but will have been shown over and over again until they have gained the skill required.

Another way to to possibly get the desired effect is to have a circle time, chat with the children about what we all do, or what about a visual support breaking down the Pre-school snacktime routine in pictures. If you have an Area Senco Co-ordinator they may have lots of books to borrow regarding engaging with children.

:o

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HI Terrydoo

First of all I want to say that I have followed all your posts since your preschool opened not so long ago. I think you are doing an amazing job, your posts are full of your passion and enthusiasm to provide the best you can for children in your care. It also seems that your deputy is very quick to criticise /compare and I bet that is knocking your confidence. I really think you could perhaps try to believe in yourself more and recognise all the positive aspects of your practice which are many! :oxD:(

 

As for saying the same thing over and over again when wanting a child to do something are you 'telling them' eg ' Take your plate..' or are you asking them? I rarely 'tell' a child do something in the true sense of the word. IN the example you gave (depending on the child!) I might say something like 'I wonder if you can take your plate to the trolley' our older ones enjoy things like 'I am going to close my eyes and when I open them I hope I will find your plate on the trolley but I don't want to hear a sound' - they love that and tiptoe to the trolley and back and are of course delighted to find my eyes still closed!

 

Over time I think you will build up a supply of different ways of saying the same thing and using different approaches for different children. As for voice levels I am not sure I quite understand what you mean, are you saying that as you say the same thing over and over again your voice gets louder? Sometimes I whisper to the children (not right close up in their ear just quiet enough for them to have to come close) and that works but of course others days/other children it doesn't.

 

Hope you don't mind me saying this but I was slightly concerned to read you had a cup of hot water at the table with the children or have I misunderstood?

I have a vast collection of EY books and will have a hunt through but can't think of one off the top of my head

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Guest terrydoo73

Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify about the hot water. We always take a cup of tea and toast with the children - it was something our Development Officer said we should do with the children as they see it at home with their parents. I don't drink tea just a cup of hot water cooled. We always keep ours in our hand and if we have to get up from the table it is left out of the reach of children so as not to cause an accident.

 

I don't think my voice rises in level but I think this is what my Deputy is implying. She seems to have the respect and the children listen and respond to her really well. I guess I would love the same thing to be happening when I speak!! We have 2 tables at which we sit with our children - we have split the numbers and these are our key children who we hope will recognise us individually in the group activity and snack times on a daily basis.

 

We use the phrase "at playgroup we all take our cups and table mats to the trolley when we are finished - could you try and do this too?" It means we are not singling any particular child out as such as not following what we say but trying to emphasise our routines. We do notice children who are what I would say "graze" at home. They reach for 2 or 3 slices of toast and then attempt to leave the table after 2 or 3 bites. When you ask if they are finished they say no and come back to the table but don't sit down. It takes quite a long time to get these particular children to understand the principle of everyone sitting together at the table to eat and finishing it before we move on to something else.

 

I think I will take on board what you have said about our routine at snack time. I took this idea on board earlier in terms of what was expected of children - I printed out pictures and explained their meaning to the children at circle time, things like a hand over the ear meant we have to listen carefully to what adults say to us in Playgroup, hands around the mouth meaning we don't shout in Playgroup but use our quiet voices etc. It might be an idea to also share these things with parents through our newsletter when we start again in September. I know I get annoyed when we spend so much time showing children how to put on their coats themselves only for mum to come and collect them later on to actually putting the coat on for the child!!

 

Need to think about how to do this tactfully now so that no parent takes offence!!

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I'd like to echo what someone else said about having more confidence in yourself as I think that might help you to be more persuasive when you speak to the children. I know from my own children how much they pick up on when I'm not sure about them doing something I am asking them to do!

 

Also we often see at playgroup children who are not used to sitting down to eat, can't sit unless in a highchair, etc, and we have to spend months sometimes reiterating our way of doing things to get over what they are used to doing at home. With some families it can help to get the parents doing the same at home, with others it makes no difference for a variety of reasons. But eventually they do get the rules and mostly abide by them, but it does take a lot of repetition. There have been days when I've found myself feeling frustrated by the repetition and it is at times like this that I thank goodness I worked in a group setting and not as a childminder, simply because I had the back up of the other staff when I felt I couldn't possibly say the same thing again! I'm not sure if your deputy steps in supportively of you at times like this or stands back and criticises later, but we had a time a while back where staff didn't do as much supporting as they could. We did some in house training on it to help demonstrate the usefulness of it, and that helped. Of course some people in general are naturally tactful and can step in when needed without stepping on toes and others have to really work at it, but it might be worth thinking about whether you could make it part of your practice to help each other out in a variety of situations.

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Our setting had 2 - 5 yr olds.....we often sat at a table with a group and had a cuppa. As said, if needed we would place out of child's reach.

 

However, our snack time was for a set period of time and once finished we were all finished....no going back to half eaten toast. Some children were faster than others but they were encouraged to sit when they had finished and wait for others...having an adult sitting there chatting often helped this and we always used to get told the funniest things over snack time. We used to watch and the person who had sat nicely used to get the most exciting job of getting the wipes for the children to wipe buttery fingers on before going to the carpet area for the next activity.

 

I like Gezabels eyes shut idea but also something like 'can you put your cup away before me' and then move really really slowly so that of course the child will win and then they will get lots of praise for doing it and beating you.

 

Much of the time as practitioners we trick children into doing things we actually want them to do by making it fun or a race or a challenge. The children often called me silly Sue at nursery because I would often do things wrong or pretend I couldn't do things so they would do it to show me how it should be done. When it came to tidying up I was the most forgetful person ever and always needed help because I couldn't remember which box the cars went in or which shelf the puzzles went on.

 

Don't be too hard on yourself, my manner and tone changed a lot over the years I worked with the children and you just have to keep trying till you find the right way for you. It is fair to say some practitioners are better than others but as your deputy you would hope she would give you tips and advice not criticise you....sounds like she enjoys trying to upstage you by having all the children hanging on her every word :o

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