Today’s standard is: Listens and speaks for specific purposes. This kindergarten standard is taken from Fairfax County Public Schools. Fairfax County is located just outside Washington DC in northern Virginia. This standard has 24 very important language arts benchmarks that align with it, so I plan to discuss one of these benchmarks each Saturday until I have exhausted them (This is the third of the 24 to be discussed.). The benchmark for today is: Begin to initiate conversations.
The following are activities that come from the ORB3 Infant-Toddler Curriculum that promote building the foundational skills from birth to 36 months old that will lead to accomplishment of this standard even before a child arrives at kindergarten:
1) Place preferred or favorite objects out of reach of the child. A pre-verbal child will point to request the object. A child who is already using words will do so to request the object, and will likely pair his word with a point/gesture.
2) Use painter’s tape to attach 4-5 toys that are light-weight to the wall just out of the child’s reach. He will request the toys either with a point or word(s).
3) Place a preferred or favorite toy inside a plastic container or storage bag. A pre-verbal child will extend the container or bag to “ask” you to open it and retrieve the toy. A verbal child will use words such as “help” or “Open it.”
4) Go on a community walk with the child. When something catches the child’s eye or ear, he will point (pre-verbal child) or comment (verbal child) in order to gain your attention and “tell” you about what he sees or hears.
5) Look at a picture book with the child. When looking at a book, the child will point to (pre-verbal) or talk about the picture(s) in the book.
6) Take the child to the park or to the story hour at the library. When sitting near another child, a pre-verbal child will reach out to touch the child (hopefully not too roughly!). A verbal child will speak words, such as “Mine!” (to express possession), “Train” (to comment on the toy he is showing the other child), or “I have trains at home” (to initiate a conversation).