The Language of Symbols in Preschool
What symbols does your child use to communicate? The interesting language of preschoolers, revealed.
What You Need To Know
Between the ages of about three to five years of age, children learn to use symbols through play and fantasy. During this period called the symbolic period—children learn to understand and use language to make requests, tell others what they want, and to ask for information.
Language is used for telling jokes, teasing, retelling stories and developing relationships. In addition to words, children communicate in other ways:
- Through drawing or paintings.
- Through dramatic role play (hitting an imaginary tennis ball) a facial expression and gesture can emphasize an attitude.
- Musically through composing or improvising using vocal effects and musical instruments as well as unconventional sound sources.
- Through movement and dance.
How You Can Help
Visual media has caught up to the preschooler’s imagination and capacity to tell a story, sing a song, create a dance as well as role play. You can encourage your child’s ability to use symbols in the following ways.
- Have them draw using lines, shapes and color to construct. Use clay or play dough to sculpt and model forms which can be labeled.
- Use those objects in a story to symbolize things and events in the plot.
- Help your child imagine, fantasize, and act out thoughts and feelings while fashioning their worlds using their created characters and constructed environments.
Helping your child explore their dramatic side can be more fun than math but just as crucial, as communication is vital for success in the classroom.
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