What is expression?
Expression refers to the ways in which a child communicates their thoughts, ideas, knowledge and feelings. Through their bodies, words and use of materials, children develop increasingly complex communications skills. It is important to understand that expression, or communication, is a two-way street. It involves being heard, as well as listening. Opportunities to explore materials support creativity and problem solving. Language-rich environments support growing communications skills, which are the foundation for literacy.
How is expression encouraged at PLASP?
PLASP programs foster communication and expression by providing children with caring environments where they feel safe to try new things, explore and share information about themselves and their families. PLASP staff connect with children by listening, responding and genuinely building on child-initiated conversations. When visiting a program, you will see a variety of materials and areas set up for children to explore their own creative ideas and outcomes. Children are given the opportunity to express themselves through drawing, painting, building, music, games and storytelling to represent their ideas, experiences and understanding of the world. PLASP staff encourage and support creative ideas in children, and build on these exchanges and experiences. We often hear of children expressing how much they want to stay in our programs when families arrive to pick them up as they are so engaged in an exciting activity with their friends. When this happens, we know we have made a difference.
How can you encourage expression?
Reflect on how you generally communicate with your children. Ask yourself: are you spending more time directing and correcting, or are you taking the time to listen and respond to what they have to say? Do you lead each conversation, or are you shaping the discussion together with your child?
Remember that conversations with your child are a two-way street. Taking this approach is an effective way to help your child develop language and social skills. By role modelling this behaviour, adults take an active role in helping children develop stronger social skills, while helping them learn about the importance of empathy, understanding, and paying attention when others communicate.
Speak with program staff each day and learn more about your child's activities to gain more insight into how your child likes to express themselves.
For more information on well-being and how learning happens, please visit the Ministry of Education's PDF document How Does Learning Happen?.