“Conversation is food for the soul” (Guy de Maupassant)
From my experience, I know that children can talk and talk and talk… until they have completely forgotten the topic of conversation they began with! They begin with talking about what they did in their maths class and end up on what their favourite pizza topping is. Honestly, these conversations are not groundbreaking, however, they are an extremely important factor in children’s social development.
Encouraging children to converse with each other about how they feel or what they think will certainly help with their ability to assess and deal with social situations. A simple conversation about how they feel towards something allows the other children listening, to develop understanding and compassion. At School of Play, we have created an environment where each child feels comfortable enough to express their feelings, either through conversation or by showing us visually on a ‘mood chart’.
These conversations are especially important now, after the COVID-19 lockdown. The children have been deprived of having face-to-face conversations with their friends and have been subjected to an online method of interaction for months. Showing emotion through a screen is difficult and not as effective as genuine interaction.
Our staff not only encourage the children to talk about their interests and thoughts but they are always intrigued by the stories they have to tell each day. I know I always look forward to hearing all the crazy things they have been up to and I truly believe that the best way to hear a story is through a child’s words.
“Just as mothers learn about motherhood by talking with other mothers, children learn what it means to be a child by comparing experiences, discussing emotional responses to events, and debating values” (Mayall, B., 2008). At our Breakfast, After School, and Holiday Club at Urmston Primary School, we ensure that these meaningful conversations are taking place daily, maximising their social interaction with other children and adults.
Thanks for reading.