Summer Workshop: Communication

This summer at the FDC we guided young learners through a series of workshops entitled The Art of Communication.

The workshops strived to teach children a few fundamental precepts of efficient communication: active listening, nonverbal language and effective speaking. These precepts were taught through games, group activities, discussions and story-telling. The children learned that every bit of information acquired in communication can help to build a relationship and communicated meaning. For example body cues such as eye contact and directional body “pointing” are communicative signals that not only can be pick-up on while listening but should be attended to when speaking.  

Of the activities, story-telling, was a particular favorite among the students. Everyone practiced eye contact and good listening. In order to keep the activity engaging each student was often in charge of a handful of characters from the book, and was responsible for showing their item when they heard it in the story. This offered not only a great example of narrative structure, but an opportunity for engaging actively in stories. As for games, ‘Fruit salad’ was a clear favorite. The game involved students having to look and listen for their ‘fruit’ to be called and trade places with another student whose ‘fruit’ was also called. The game was not only fun, but educational, as it required all the aforementioned essentials of effective communication. Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of eye contact, a key component to being a good communication partner. It was immensely gratifying to see students getting better and quicker at this game over time – practice makes perfect!

As the workshop progressed we saw students become more confident in the expression of their ideas and thoughts. Their body language improved and eye contact in particular was markedly more consistent.

According to Gooden & Kearns (2013), “During the early childhood years, responsive families and teachers are critical for rich stimulation of children’s communication skills.” It is always better to start young. Be on the lookout for future social skills and communication workshops at the FDC if you want your kids to get in on the learning (and fun).
 

*Caroline Gooden, & Jacqui Kearns (2013). The Importance of Communication Skills in Young Children

https://www.hdi.uky.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ResearchBrief_Summer2013.pdf 

 

Article by Christy Li & Sarah Konopka