More on yesterday’s topic of teaching personal pronouns to preschoolers. I had a session today with my little girl who is also working on he/she and his/her. She loved the Fisher Price Happy Family set which has many girls. I have the canoe, camping tent, campfire and frying pan, plenty of babies (which are a favorite) and chairs and high chairs. We started with lots of “she” models as we freely played with the dolls. “Should she put the baby in her carry pack?” “Yes, she should.” A few minutes into our first session, Caley was easily repeating my models without really knowing it as she loved the play. When the girl got into the canoe to paddle down the “river” we needed an alligator which we made out of playdoh. Caley promptly announced that the alligator was a girl which was convenient for me because I had another female model for the pronoun, she! I didn’t even have to put a pink bow around her neck. Now that the playdoh was out for making the alligator, Caley decided we needed a mermaid and appropriately dressed on of the girls.
I believe it’s important for kids to know what they are working on. In this case I ask Caley, “What is your word?” and she says, “She!” Putting it front and forward, helps her be more attentive to using it. I actually heard one or two spontaneous uses of she during that first session.
You have to gauge your little client as to when to introduce he as the next goal. Some kids need a longer time to establish a pronoun. I do a little bit of the opposite pronoun work for contrast (showing a boy doll and describe what he is doing) but mostly bombard the client with she first.
Finally, we finished up with a party as we made various food for our two female dolls. When I asked, “Who has some pizza?” she would reply, “She does, she does and she does,” as she tapped the different dolls. It helped her to hear her target word repeated over and over.