Toddlers Unlimited

Manila's Premiere Preschool & Toddler Center

Talk to Me

On Aug. 17, Toddlers Unlimited was fortunate enough to host a workshop by Ms. Nastasha Morales-Soliven, an esteemed speech and language pathologist, attended by teachers and parents.

Speech

The comments made by the attendees at the end of the morning showed us how much they learned and enjoyed. Here are some examples:

“Teacher Nash is very knowledgeable on the topic. She explained the topic and subtopics very clearly with examples.”

“Well done in explaining difficult terms in layman’s language…Loved how the seminar covered basic Speech and Language Development concepts and injected various situations in the talk.”

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“The speaker was very animated!!! Which made it very enjoyable.”

“The most memorable thing was when the speaker asked us to act out different situations, because it was where application of the content of the seminar took place.”

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Below is a reflection paper made by Teacher Sharon Baritugo, who works with our one-year-old children on Teacher Nash’s workshop.

“The limits of my language, means the limits of my world.”  Ludwig Wittgenstein

Language opens up a world of things for everyone.  With all its various aspects, it is amazing how humans keep developing this skill starting as early as in the womb and further on into adulthood.

As a teacher of the one year olds, language is one of the most important things that I believe I should focus on with my students.  The Purple Room is always filled with singing, books to read, pictures to point at and name, toys to play with and talk about.  It is at this age where children are more receptive than expressive.  So my day usually consists of a lot of talking and singing, labeling things the children are experiencing as they are playing, ‘translating’ into words the child’s gesture or babble as they try to express a need or a discovery they want to share.

I am always in awe of that look of understanding in a child’s eyes who is not able to talk yet, when he is able to comprehend what I am saying.  For my one year olds, a smile or even a small gesture is enough to start a conversation.  Following simple directions, trying to sing along to our everyday songs, pointing at pictures in books are some of the abilities that we look out for.  With these beginning skills in language, the child is then able to start socializing, and more importantly start to express needs and wants, both very essential to their overall development.

At this age of rapid technological advances, our children are exposed to so many gadgets in their everyday lives.  Giant televisions, cell phones in each caregiver’s hand, tablets that respond with a mere touch of a finger.  I must admit, I am quite wary of these things.  If not carefully monitored by the adults, studies show that these hamper development, and not just language development at that.

Teacher Nash pointed out in her lecture the various physical aspects of speech, the anatomic and motor skills that go with it.  Children need to look at a person talking to them.  They need to see how the mouth and tongue move, and even facial expressions that go with what a person is saying.  Hearing a voice and looking at pictures is not enough.  Adults need to take the time to sit down and play with their children on the floor and make eye-contact as they talk to them.

I know some will disagree but for me, e-books will never replace real books that a child can hold, touch, turn the pages, and even smell.  With these books with stationary pictures, the child is encouraged to imagine how the characters might move, talk or sound like, and how the story may progress in their minds.  And of course, nothing will replace having a child sit on your lap, as you read a story together.

As an educator, I believe giving utmost importance to a child’s language development will give him the tools to cope with the demands of school life, and then ultimately the demands of this world.  Teacher Nash’s lecture was very timely.  Parents and caregivers, especially in this day and age, need to be reminded about the importance of language in child development.

Sometimes it’s startling to realize that there is a need to remind some adults (parents and yayas) to talk and read to their children.  I am glad Toddlers Unlimited is doing their part in raising this awareness among parents.  I’m looking forward to more seminars and workshops similar to this and hoping more parents and caregivers attend.

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