Language Development in Preschoolers: Home Environment
The importance of parents’ interactions with their children and the learning contexts created for children at home has been documented by various researchers (Berk & Spuhl, 1995; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994). Of particular importance is the way parents foster language acquisition through scaffolding or supporting the children’s learning within zones of proximal development. Scaffolding involves parents’ supporting children’s learning by helping their children engage in verbal and nonverbal tasks that children cannot perform alone. Parents adjust the amount of help provided to children, taking into consideration their current level of performance (Moerk, 1974). As a child increases in competence in a task, her parent gradually decreases the amount of assistance. Gradually, the child can engage successfully and independently in performing the task. Critical features of parental teaching behavior have been identified to include “warmth, responsiveness, patience, and an appropriate degree of structure and control” (Berk & Spuhl, 1995, p. 165).
Scaffolded interactions often occur in problem-solving settings such as putting together a puzzle. They also occur in daily routines such as putting on a child’s shoes. Scaffolding is also part of establishing and sustaining conversations with young children. Language combined with actions are the components of this scaffolding. Learning is supported or assisted both by what the parent says to guide the child’s thinking and actions and by what the parent does in gesture or action to support or assist the learning. Parents’ task-relevant speech during these scaffolded interactions also contributes to the development of children’s internal or private speech (Winsler, Diaz, & Montero, 1997). As reported in Winsler et al., when parents gave verbal directions to their children in scaffolding the accomplishment of a task, children were more likely to use similar speech to themselves to direct their own actions when attempting to independently complete the same task.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- First Grade Sight Words List