Effective Communication Skills in Early Childhood Educators

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The most essential skill for early childhood educators is effective communication. Communication skills can be both non-verbal and verbal. At birth non-verbally communication occurs and as verbal communication skills are acquired oral comprehension is possible. Parent to child communication occurs throughout life, but the importance of parent child communication in early childhood is the most profound. Effective communications in early childhood educators are identified by communication between student to teacher and teacher to parent. Without effective communication skills it would be difficult to pass on knowledge and or skills. How effect communication skills are can be tested both internally and externally.

The earliest form of communication a child makes is non-verbal in the form of crying (Bee, 1999, p.169). This sound communicates to a parent or carer that action is required, whether it is ‘I would like a cuddle cry’; ‘I need a nappy change’; ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I’m in pain’ it is the first basic communication skill of a child.

Bee (1999, p.169) states that ‘fussing, gurgling, and satisfied’ sound also emerge and by the second month the child begins to ‘laugh and coo’. This laughing and cooing communicates to us the state of the child’s emotions in a non-verbal way that is, without the use of words. Bee (1999, p. 169) goes on to say that by 12 months a child starts to ‘babble’. Babbling is a string of sound such as ‘dadada’ or ‘ mamama’. As this ‘babble’ develops the child non-verbal communication of only crying decreases.

As social interactions begin, depending on “familiarity of environment”, children between 12 and 18 months, still use non-verbal communication with each other, even though they may be able to talk, by imitated one another, gesturing, touching (Knott, 1979, p. 226) and are more likely to share toys (Arnold, 1979, p. 215). Verbal communication commences at around 2 years of age when response is needed. An example of this can be as simple as a ‘thank you’ in response to an action.

By the age of five, children recognise ‘turns’ (Arnold, 1979, p. 215) and by the age of ten communications is structured. The child recognises that they have to wait until someone else has spoken before they speak. This could be a short script such as, three children in a room, one child asking another ‘what is your name’ and pointing to child. After waiting for instruction the child response by saying their name and returning the question. Child not asked the question waits for their turn. Communication at by 10 years of age includes threats and insults (Arnold, 1979, p. 215). Child has learnt volume, speed and stress control when vocalising (Arnold, 1979, p. 218). This means children learn the difference between quietly spoken and high-pitched volume, how fast one talks and how to control themselves when speaking early in life. It also indicates that whilst communication mastery has not occurred communication skills are developing. By the age of five most children have commenced formal schooling. These are the school years were communication between student and teacher are formulated (if not earlier in day care).

Communication between student and teacher involves the giving of instructions, observation of students learning, asking questions during instruction to verify that instruction is understood, the ability for teachers to adjust the lesson plan to suit students knowledge and understanding of topic (McClain, 2002, p. 217). To be effective in giving instructions, lessons must positively motivate a student. You need to create interest, enthusiasm and gain students trust. This is exemplified by Moll, Amanti, Neff and Gonzalez (1992, pp. 138-139) study on how students interest in candy making motivate students and how their interest and enthusiasm on the subject leads to effective communication skills. According to McClain (2002, p. 217) the use...
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