prechooler in pretend boatWhen I work with 2 and 3 year-olds, often Mom gives me the feedback that “they aren’t talking much at school.” My answer to that is let me do a session in their preschool.

Today I did just that. I went to see my friend David in his 2’s class. It is nearing the end of the school year and David just turned 3. He can speak in 3-6 word sentences but tends to be a bit reserved in group settings. I find that after several speech therapy sessions, children feel comfortable and reinforced for talking and the language they are capable of begins to flow. So, today, I came along side David and played with the vehicles, went to the play kitchen and did some hammering with our work apron on. I modeled short sentences that I knew he was capable of and he repeated many of them. I also occasionally said, “Your turn” and repeated my model for him to say. The teachers said they had never heard him talk so much and were encouraged at his abilities.

Here are the suggestions I left for the preschool teachers:

  • Model short sentences related to what David is doing: “Put on the apron.”   “You put it on.” “Hammer the board.”
  • Pause after your modeled sentence to wait and see if David will repeat it
  • Occasionally say, “Your turn.” and repeat the model or say, “You say……” Be careful not to be direct too much of the time asking him to repeat or he will feel on the spot and perhaps clam up!
  • After the rush of all the children arriving, come along side David and spend some time starting conversation and getting him going verbally.
Parents, you might want several therapy sessions delivered in  your child’s nursery school setting to bridge the skills learned in home sessions to your child’s peer play activities.