In order to learn children need to develop attending skills. When their attention is focused, it is easier to concentrate on the task presented.
As preschoolers enter kindergarten they need to develop social awareness in a group. They need to become aware of their body in space and develop their ability to attend during group activities and stay focused. The term Whole Body Listening has often been used to help little ones develop better focusing skills and better body awareness.
You can help your preschooler learn some listening techniques even before they enter school. Before reading a story book, you can cue your child into getting ready to listen.
For example: “Before we read our story let’s get ready to listen with our whole body. Let’s put on our good listening ears (pretend to twist on ears). Now Let’s put in our good watching eyes (pretend to twist in eyes). Now let’s zip our lips because it’s my turn to talk and your turn to listen (move fingers across mouth to zip lips). Oh, and we can’t forget our brain for good thinking (pretend to put brain in your head). Now our brain is ready to think. Our hands are in our lap. Our feet are quiet. Our whole body is calm and quiet. Now we are ready to listen and learn.”
If you do this several times before reading a story to your child, he will soon be able to tell you how he can get his body ready to be a good listener. Repeating this activity with your preschooler will help develop whole body listening skills, so when he does get to kindergarten he will have the tools he needs to become more aware of his whole body and be a better listener and a better learner.
Lorraine Bukilica MA CCC/Sp
Aspire Speech and Learning Center