Learning Bags and the Benefits of Show and Tell in Early Childhood Education
By: Rebecca M. Solomon, Ph.D.
Many of us have fond childhood memories of bringing beloved items to school and showing our classmates. Show and Tell was a time to share some of our favorite toys, photos, and hobbies with our teachers and friends, but did you know that it was also a time to develop important communication and social skills?
Show and Tell has numerous benefits for young children. These early language experiences help to build effective communication and listening skills that are essential for a young child’s learning. It also encourages emotional development in a child, as he or she shares their interests, home lives, and joys and struggles with peers. In addition, this socially rewarding experience helps to solidify important home-school connections, particularly when Show and Tell is aligned with the curriculum.
At The Learning Experience, our Learning Bags program provides opportunities for our Preschool students to develop these key skills in the context of the curriculum themes being studied. During this weekly structured program, where students are encouraged to share items from home that align with that week’s curriculum theme, the Learning Bags encourage children to use descriptive words and complete sentences. Questions like, “Why is this object special to you?” “How does this work?” or “Where did you get this object?” help the children to strengthen their language and communication skills.
There are several things that you as a parent can do to augment this learning experience for your child:
- Help your child select an item and have them explain to you how it fits with the weekly curriculum theme.
- Help your child practice describing the object and explaining why they want to share it with the class.
- Reinforce effective speaking habits, such as looking at the audience and speaking clearly.
- Ask questions about the item so that your child can be ready to answer when friends and teachers have questions.
We know that these early language experiences play an important role in your child’s social and emotional development. Show and Tell is a fun way to help your child build those important communication skills that will serve as a solid foundation for future learning.