Course Code: ela
How do children learn language? Play! And not with flash cards, or anything else that you can buy. Children are born with a complete package of language-learning tools. The only accessory they need is you, helping them unlock their natural instincts for language. After reading this first section, you'll be using play and instinct to communicate soundlessly with a newborn, to help him fill his language-building toolbox, and to create a stimulating environment for language development.
Imagine a database of sounds in your child's brain. Where do these sounds come from? How do they file, sort, and choose to use these sounds to communicate? In this lesson, you'll look at why their mind is made for these remarkable tasks and learn straightforward ways you can lend a hand (even in the form of sign language!). This lesson also includes a fascinating overview of brain and mouth anatomy.
You say, "Shelly just said, 'ball'!" But your friend says, "Nah, that was just babbling." Who's right? Does something count as a real word if it isn't pronounced perfectly? In this lesson, you'll explore what makes a word real and learn how to interpret your child's patterns of simplifying early language. You'll also start using a journal to uncover the rich potential in your child's one- and two-word phrases.
Once you understand the mechanics of hearing and understanding, your role in encouraging language can be powerful, simple, and fun! Many caregivers ask at this stage when they should start to worry about language delays. This lesson will soothe your concerns by discussing what to watch for, when to seek assistance (and from which type of specialist), and when to stop worrying and keep playing! You'll look through a list of typical first words that you can use to trace your child's communication explosion.
Can you guess when a baby's brain grows the most? How do you facilitate this growth? Again, the answer is play! In this lesson, you'll match favorite infant-caregiver games to the neurological functions they stimulate. You'll also learn how language affects the development of thinking skills, just as the function of thinking affects language development. You'll then explore how to keep this circle of growth cycling.
Your kiddo is talking, but you're not done yet! Although two-word phrases, such as "get ball" certainly communicate an idea, your child will keep refining their sentences as they grow. In this lesson, you'll find out how to help them progress to past tense, contractions, pronouns, and conjunctions. You'll also learn about the fascinating thought processes behind their questions. Don't forget your journal!
Now that you have listening, speaking, sounds, words, and sentences, what more is there? Lots! Is it still fun? Do they still need you? Of course! In this lesson, you'll continue with a few more do's and don'ts for caregivers, emphasizing a popular learning tool: games!
Expanding on the anatomy lesson, this lesson will show you how sounds depend on strong, agile mouth muscles. Before you start thinking about tongue push-ups, remember that it's best to maximize the opportunities within natural interactions. A discussion of feeding—including your choices of bottles, cups, and straws—is key. The lesson will answer complex and controversial questions about pacifiers, sippy cups, and thumb sucking, and provide some great tips for easing necessary transitions.
Some sounds sound fun (like boing!), and some sounds feel fun (like zzzzzz). What does this kind of fun teach if it doesn't use precise words? In this lesson, you'll find out what you're teaching when you encourage your little one to play with sounds. You'll also learn which speech games will help you make the connection from speech to reading.
Speech, language, and communication are different but related topics. In this lesson, you'll learn how to help your talker become a conversationalist! Using your knowledge of how sounds make language, you'll learn how language is used to communicate and connect with others, which is called the social use of language.
While children follow similar development processes, no two walk the same path. As more is discovered about learning, the lines between different, delayed, and disability grow foggier. Demystifying these terms is easier when you learn about different learning styles, and when you understand the styles used by you and your child. Although you can't eavesdrop on your child's thoughts, what you learn in this lesson will help you help them connect their learning style and their use of language.
Teaching a child the alphabet tends to be a common first step toward reading, but is it where literacy begins? While this skill can be gratifying for adults to see, literacy begins in the brain and is nurtured with fun and games. As you've learned about language skills, literacy doesn't come in a box from the store. When you understand instincts and use them in fun and play, they come from you.
Kt (Katie) Paxton is a certified teacher with a Master's Degree in Education focusing on Learning and Technology. She has more than 20 years of classroom experience and has been an online instructor since 2003. She also owned and managed a home daycare for five years and is the author of More Adventures With Kids in San Diego. Furthermore, Kt has trained and placed tutors with at-risk students in over 100 schools in addition to working with the students herself.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.
Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
As a preschool teacher, I found this course to be very informative and educational. I know that it will help me in my everyday interactions with my students."
I have been a special ed teacher for 15 years and I got so much out of this course!"
I really enjoyed this course. I have 4 daughters, from age 16 mos. to 9 yrs. I saw so many things first hand as I was reading about them in your lessons. Sometimes my 16 mo. old even "helped" with my lessons. Very enjoyable!"
I thought that this was one of the best continuing education classes that I have taken in a long time. I felt like all that I was exposed to was useful to me as an educator, as well as a mother. The instructor has a very thorough knowledge of her subject and a great sense of humor that makes her lessons enjoyable to read. I hope that I come across lessons by this same instructor in the future. I thank the school for offering such worthwhile courses!"
Thank you for a very beneficial course. This is my third course with you and I have enjoyed each one. I like to continue to learn and keep up on the latest information available on how to work with young children. Your classes were by far the best I have taken in quite some time. The information I have gained has already been put into practice in my classroom. Thank you for inspiring me to make necessary changes to my classroom and teaching approaches."
Thoroughly enjoyed this course. Will definitely consider taking another online course again. Very informative material and learned a lot I thought I already knew! Thanks so much! Great instructor! Enjoyed Kt's sense of humor sprinkled throughout the course!"
Kt Paxton is a wonderful instructor! This is the second course I've taken with her and I always learn so much. Her love of the subject and her students shines through in her curriculum. She's highly responsive and helpful. Looking forward to another class with Ms. Paxton!"
I am in love with your courses. Your information is well written, extremely interesting and easy to follow and remember. I appreciate the examples and believe I will be a better educator and mother after taking these courses...I am totally impressed with your courses and feel you are an outstanding educator! Thank you!"
Great course! Wonderful follow-up to KT's course "Ready, Set, Read.""
I told the instructor about the journey with my son and she really went out her way to find resources. She also used examples in her lessons that were similar to what I was going through."