Play is the Universal Language

Play is the universal language and the children connect and interact together easily and fluidly through Play activities. Sometimes two children can be chatting to each other and they are speaking to each other in their own language and while they cannot understand their verbal language their non-verbal language is their shared, common and mutually-understood language.

At this early stage in the term we have focussed on helping the children settle into Preschool and getting to know the staff and the other children. There is an extra layer of complexity to this process this year because so many children have english as their second language. We are currently focussing on helping the children learn each other’s names by naming children as we play together, introducing and re-introducing children and playing naming games. We also have photos of the children around the room and the children often walk around the room pointing at the photos and repeating the names.

The children communicate very well with each other but where we have experienced some difficulties is when staff are communicating with the children or the children are communicating with the staff. Building relationships with the children and their families is key at this stage because quite often we are relying on non-verbal cues to understand a child’s needs.

See also Tips for Preschool Staff when helping young children to acquire english as an additional language.