The Value of Chatter in the Preschool Classroom

Have you ever been to a preschool classroom and heard nothing but the sound of crickets? If so, you probably left feeling like something was missing. That something is chatter—the sweet sound of little voices discussing their ideas and exploring the world around them. Chatter can be just as important for learning as books, pencils, and puzzles. Let’s take a look at why preschoolers need opportunities to engage in oral language.

Oral language is the foundation for learning. It helps little ones learn how to communicate with others, think critically, and understand new concepts. Through conversations with adults and peers, preschoolers have the opportunity to practice using new words while also expanding their knowledge base. They can learn about topics that interest them while also developing their ability to express themselves through speaking and listening.

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GrapeSEED Teacher Testimonial

I love this quote from writer, speaker, and coach Todd Stocker: “I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn’t find the time to do it.” It’s true that in educators’ worlds today, everyone is busier than ever! Even when we aren’t in the classroom, at a staff meeting, or out in the community, we’re still always ‘on.’ That’s why we were thrilled when twenty-two-year veteran ELL teacher, Brooke Mindnich, from Eatontown, NJ made time to share about her experience with the GrapeSEED curriculum.

Take a look:

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Providing the Best for Our Youngest Newcomers

If you’re like most folks, when you hear the word ‘newcomer’ you likely envision an adult person bravely setting out to build a new life in a new place. Most of us realize the that inevitable challenges will come with acclimating to a foreign country, to surprising new social norms, to a foreign language and everything that beginning life in a new place might entail.

Some of us, though, may forget to consider what being a ‘newcomer’ might feel like to a young child.  If we haven’t had that experience ourselves, we likely can’t even imagine what it may encompass.  

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The Science of Reading

Have you heard the saying ‘The only thing that’s constant is change.’?  When it comes to methods used when teaching children to read, that old adage may have met finally met its match! Techniques for teaching children to read have certainly come and gone…and come and gone again. That could be because none have been quite as powerful as the Science of Reading! You see, over the last 40ish years, there have been thousands of studies around teaching and learning to read…in countries and languages all around the world. Over time, evidence from those studies has been gathered and shared in an effort for us to really understand the very best ways to teach and learn to read. The highly regarded NWEA website describes it this way: “The ‘Science of Reading’ is the converging evidence of what matters and what works in literacy instruction, organized around models that describe how and why.” With the Science of Reading in place, students get research-backed methods of instruction that help them master this vital skill of reading. Most importantly, these methods work well with all types of students.

 When it comes to students acquiring English oral language for the first time, be they multilingual learners or developing preschoolers, the joy-filled, engaging, systematic and success-oriented GrapeSEED curriculum embraces and encompasses each facet of Science of Reading.

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GrapeSEED’s Phonemic Awareness Approach and the Science of Reading

What’s the first step in language acquisition? Learning to hear and form new sounds that will eventually lead to producing language! The technical term here is ‘phonemic awareness’, but what it boils down to is being able to recognize and manipulate sounds within the context of words. Be it a toddler beginning to put sounds together as they learn to talk, or an older child or adult learning a second or even third language, the ability to hear distinct sounds within words and the ability to reproduce those sounds is all part of the process.

Our English learner students have already established a known language…their home language… and are now expected to learn the phonology of a new language.  Day in and day out, they begin to learn and process English.  While lots goes into this, one of our responsibilities as teachers is very clear: as mentioned above, English learners must be taught to hear and form phonograms, aka: have phonemic awareness. The need for phonemic awareness is an integral part of the research-based Science of Reading, is a best practice, and is also a fundamental skill that just makes sense.  Does this feel a little overwhelming? Don’t you worry… with GrapeSEED it’s simple!

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