Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of principles and practice in young children's language, literacy or mathematical development.
What skills are involved in the development of early writing and how can these be supported and developed?
The definition espoused by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) in the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy Among Children and Young People 2011-2020 (DES,2011), notes that: literacy includes the capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication including spoken language, printed text, broadcast media, and digital media. (DES,2011,p8) Language development in children has for many years had experts looking at the many different influencers that can have an effect on the development of the child and their language capabilities. Recent theories suggest that children develop their language and use of words via their own holistic development that emerges from their cognitive, emotional and social interactions. The child’s social and cultural development, the people who they meet and interact with, and how children view these internally are key drivers and fundamental to their language development. Intentionally theories date back to Aristotle and the importance of cognitive development with the addition of holistic development with the inclusion of personal emotions and other aspects of social and cultural development.
Chomsky as cited in Trask (1999) argued that Language Acquisition Device (LAD) saw humans being born with a special biological brain mechanism that supposed the ability to learn languages was inborn. This nature over nurture argument suggested that experience is using a language was the driver to activate LAD.
Piaget on the other hand, looked at a child’s cognitive development. The development of words and language was not inbuilt, but more a reflection of using familiar words to develop a way of thinking. Cognitive development he argued, led to the development of the child’s language use, and not the other way round.
Vygotsky examined both Chomsky and Piaget’s views, and came back with the opinion that the development of thought and that of a language were linked. He looked at how different languages utilized could influence the thought process of the child. Vygotsky’s theory viewed language as the first steps towards social communication that gradually promoted both the language itself and the cognition. Bakhtin and Bruner also concurred with Vygotsky that language was the pretence to the development of social and cognitive skills that allowed for the child’s overall social development.
Writing is a difficult skill to acquire, yet parents often expect children to acquire this skill at a very early age. It is therefore imperative that educators provide children with adequate preparation to become literate. To develop early writing, children need to be given ample opportunity to interact with adults, as well as other children, to develop their literacy skills through everyday activities such as listening to stories, drawing and role play. During the 1980’s, ‘emergent literacy’ (a term coined by Marie Clay in 1966) became the dominant theoretical perspective in the field of early reading and writing (Vukelich & Christie, 2008). According to Riley & Reedy (2000) the language skills children acquire through this exposure to early literacy activity will help them to understand language, express themselves, read, and later to write. However, before children write their stories, it is important for them to practice and consolidate the foundation of their language that will verbally illustrate their drawings. Only later developmentally, will children discover that they can use print to draw speech, or In other words, to write. In this sequence, children will begin to understand how print can represent speech and sounds, and that these symbols have meaning (Lehr & Osborn,2009).
Children need to...
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