Supporting young children’s oral language and writing development: Teachers’ and early childhood educators’ goals and practices

Shelley Stagg Peterson
University of Toronto

Laureen J. McIntyre
University of Saskatchewan

Donna Forsyth
Brandon University

This paper reports on interview research involving 36 primary teachers and early childhood educators from northern communities in four Canadian provinces. Interview responses show that participants support young children’s oral language by creating meaningful contexts to use language for a variety of purposes. They use repetition and provide contextual information when teaching vocabulary through songs, rhymes, visuals and dramatic play. Those who teach indigenous and French Immersion students identify a need to learn more about bridging children’s home and school cultures and languages. Although participants value writing as a social practice, their teaching focuses on supporting children’s fine motor development and understandings about concepts about print. Given the importance of oral and written language to children’s learning, our research has potential to bring needed attention to professional development needs in these two important areas.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 3 September 2016.

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