Do parents tell you they just wish they knew what happened at school?
Do you ever wonder what your preschool student did on the weekend?
Do you have preschoolers on your caseload who are minimally verbal and can't express themselves?
Do you have Kindergarten students who struggle to complete their weekly journal?
If you answered, 'yes' to any of these - keep reading!
I have compiled some easy tips I have used during my 13 years as a Preschool SLP and 9 years as a mom!
These easy to tips to help the Preschoolers and Kindergarteners in your life communicate with adults about their day at home and at school. These strategies can be used by teachers, administrators, parents, and caregivers.
1) Use Open-Ended Questions: Ask questions that encourage conversation! Adults love asking them, but "Yes/No Questions" do not get a kiddo talking! A question such as, "What was the most fun thing you did today?", could be used as an alternative to "did you have fun?" This simple tip is a great way to get more information from a preschooler!
2) Use Visual Options: Using pictures can help children communicate because they help children organize their ideas. For children who aren't using words to communicate, they can point at the pictures to communicate. You can hand draw simple pictures (such as a happy face and sad face) or print out picture options from the internet.
3) Create a routine of questions: Choose 3-5 questions that you ask your child every day. (e.g. What was the best part of your day? What did you need help with today?) and ask your child these questions every day. This will help your child understand what the question means and think about the answers before they see you.
4) Talk about why it is important for your child to tell you about their day: Use simple language to explain this big concept! Sometimes when children know why something is important, they are more likely to do it. Explain to your child that when you know what happened at school, it helps you take care of them!
Maintain Home-School Communication between Adults: Home-School Communication is important for the parent, student, and teacher. Research shows that the extent of two-way communication between home and school affects the extent and quality of parents' home involvement with their children's learning.
After using these strategies with my own preschoolers and my own children, I knew I had to create something to help other preschoolers communicate about their day, so I created a Home-School Visual Communication Log.
- SOCIAL STORY: A story to help teach preschoolers why talking about their day is important.
- MY DAY AT SCHOOL LOG: This communication log is completed at school by the student. It has visual choices so the student simply needs to circle the applicable answers.
- MY DAY AT HOME LOG: This is a Communication Log is completed at home by the student daily or weekly. This Communication Log is also a perfect tool to use in replacement, or as a supplement, to journal time for young students who may not be able to write about their weekend.
- SCHOOL DAY IN REVIEW: This is a quick and easy to use Communication Log to be completed by teachers at school. Teachers simply circle the applicable information. There is space for comments, as well as a room for an appropriate question that parents can ask their child at home (e.g. If there was an assembly, the question could be, “Who came to our school today?”).
- HOME DAY IN REVIEW: This is a quick and easy to use Communication Log to be completed by parents at home. Parents simply circle the applicable information. There is space for comments, as well as a room for an appropriate question that teachers can ask their students at school (e.g. If they went to the park, the question could be, “Who did you go to the park with?”).
- SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS: A list of open-ended questions you can ask the child about their day.