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Camps and Kindergarten

A Speech-Language Pathologist Perspective Prep Part 2.

By Maureen Penko

So many focus themes are occurring in the next few months, starting with Valentine’s day, I love to read month and getting ready for spring Camps. Advertising the camps will be in brochures at the Winnipeg Public Library, this magazine and the Leisure guide.

Always consider these points when choosing a camp:

What is the purpose of the camp?
Will my child know anyone in the camp?
Is what the camp offers fit my child needs?

Always talk to your child about it in advance so they know and understand what to expect.

There are also camps for children with special needs. Speak to the person in charge of the camp to get an idea of expectations and the focus of each day.

As mentioned in the Part 1 article, the exposure to groups of children for learning and social interaction, is the key element for enrolling your child in programs.

So, let’s now take a moment to look at speech and language developmental milestones.

I would like to address the aspect of milestones as this was requested by many parents. What should a four- five-year-old be expected to understand and communicate. This information is taken from a variety of sources*

At ages 4 to 5 years your child:

  • Talks about everyday experiences,
  • Keeps the conversation going for several turns,
  • Uses five to six-word sentences,
  • Tell and retells special stories,
  • Follows related directions,
  • Asks and answers questions,
  • Makes requests and adds reason e.g. “I want a drink because…”
  • Pronounces most speech sounds correctly with emerging accuracy of the ‘L, r. s, sh, ch and th sounds in all position of words and is clear to most people,
  • Stay with one activity for at least 10 minutes,
  • Pretends, creates, makes up songs and stories,
  • Uses polite language e.g. please and thank you,
  • Understands thematic vocabulary and location words e.g. It is freezing standing outside.

To assist with developing the milestones, here are some ideas of activities.

Activities that encourage communication growth:

  • Talking about what you are doing
  • Using describing words when in an activity such as craft time
  • Singing songs, reading book and playing games together
  • Helping the child’s enquiry mind by asking open ended questions e.g. “What do you think?” when in a special location such as the zoo
  • Giving a child practice and rehearsing longer directions, such as Simon says …
  • Using new words and building vocabulary when introducing a topic
  • Repeating what children have said incorrectly, accurately and many times so that they hear the accuracy of the sound.

In Part 1, it was mentioned that children should be enrolled and participate in group activities and new experiences before coming to school. Exposure to varied vocabulary is also important. This week when I was in Vancouver to visit my children, I happened to be in a mall and heard music. The musical strains to Moana drew me to a large circle where children were all dressed up in the characters of this movie. The adult Moana had a beautiful voice and she detailed the story through visuals, song, animation and movement. All the children were engaged, and it was a beautiful sight. The event was free. So, watch out for these events in a mall or at bookstores. It is, I love to read month and I loved this slogan displayed in the mall. Our local bookstores have a weekly literature club, so do call them.

Read to you child daily and include books about friends, going to camp and love.

Communication skills are the foundation that children develop, and it is the tool that is used for socialization. Find the camp that best suits your child’s needs. Camps help get ready for kindergarten.

* Information for the milestones was taken from the Speech Pathology and Audiology Association Canada, The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association.

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