Hello - helping children develop good communication skills
If you read my blogs regularly, you'll know that I like to talk about communication skills and how important it is that we make children confident communicators from an early age.
As you might expect, this is something that we are passionate about at Perform. In fact, the central section of each workshop is called Listen, Speak & Sing and we focus entirely on helping children with their listening and speaking skills through fun exercises where they learn to project their voices, use eye contact when they speak and be confident when talking whether to one person or to an audience. I sincerely believe that if you teach a child skills such as how to project and talk in front of an audience at the age of 4, they will retain these for life - it is quite simply all about practice and repetition.
So, I was very excited to read about Hello which is a campaign to ?increase understanding of how important it is for children and young people to develop good communication skills?. This phrase is music to my ears of course because it's focusing on something that I spend so much of my time talking about.
According to the Hello Campaign, over one million children have some form of speech, language and communication need and these are only the children with issues that we know about. It aims to make communication a priority in homes so that children can fulfil their potential in school and in life. The campaign has monthly themes. For example, ?Early chatter matters - from bump to birth and beyond?, where the focus is on how babbling babies don't turn into talkative toddlers by chance. It requires help and encouragement from us.
Have a look at the well-resourced website and see what you think. And, if helping your children's communication skills is a particular interest of yours, here's a quick and simple communication game we use at Perform that you can play at home or in the car.
Explain that you want each of your children to do the following: 1. Start by saying hello in a confident voice. 2. Say their name and age. 3. Say what their favourite fruit/colour/food/toy/book is and why (pick just one for each round).
An example response might be ?Hello, my name's Tom and I'm 4 years old. My favourite fruit is an orange because it is full of vitamin C?.
Once everyone has a turn, then repeat doing it again in a more confident voice or by changing the subject.
Playing this sort of simple game regularly and continually reinforcing the rules - that we must speak clearly with a nice strong voice and look at the people we are talking to - can really boost a children's communication and confidence.
Have a go with your children and let me know how you get on.