As the founder of the municipal preprimary school system in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Loris Malaguzzi, once said, "the child has a hundred languages." This means that there are also countless ways to support children as they develop their communication skills. Good communication skills emerge from children's ability to think about their own thoughts, to understand their own needs and desires, and to express themselves clearly and with precision. That's a lot to learn, especially when you remember that we're born knowing no words at all.
Create an environment at home where words, reading, and listening are important. A love of language, literature, and of the world is contagious. Children learn what they see!
Read, read, and read some more with your child. Study after study finds that reading with children is a powerful force in their lives and a pathway to better communication skills. Books provide a forum for a focused conversation. Learning is powerfully enhanced when children and parents are paying attention to the same thing. Perhaps your emerging reader will enjoy a visit to the Museum's Treehouse Adventure, with its quiet corners and appealing books.
Give children access to many forms of communication. Painting, drawing, building, sculpture, collage, dancing, singing, and playing instruments are all crucial vehicles for communication. We need to ensure that children have access to many kinds of materials to express themselves. Consider stopping by the Clay Studio, Maker Studio, or Theater when you're visiting the Museum.
**Focus and Self-Control is one of the Seven Essential Life Skills described by Ellen Galinsky in her book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs (2010), available in the Museum Store. We have also created a brief handbook to provide information for you to explore at home.