Child care providers play an important role in supporting early language development. The building blocks for language development are present in children's lives beginning at birth. Newborn infants follow the sound of their parent's voice. Babies who are only a few weeks old prefer their parents' voices. Infants begin making their first language sounds within the first few months of life.
Child care providers can help children learn language in easy yet exciting ways. As a child care provider, you already know wonderful ways to enrich language by: singing, reading, having conversations, writing, drawing, finger plays, rhymes, poems, music and story telling. But to be well informed and in tune with language development, we need to know more.
Language is the tool that helps children make many connections: understanding meaning, sharing feelings and needs, connecting with others, processing new information, solving problems and understanding society's expectations. Children learning about language learn rhyme, listening, communication, self-reflection, writing and many other skills. With the tools of language, child care providers can help young children open many doors. The following articles will help child care providers support language development in infants, toddlers and preschoolers.