A Fresh Start to the School Year with Speech-Language Therapy
The start of a new academic year is here, and with that, children are ready for a fresh beginning. Even if you have worked with a particular child before this, it is a great idea to restart with some basics each year. Summer vacation and heading into a new classroom can result in changes in their interests. Taking the time to get to know a new child that you are working with can be beneficial for everyone involved. The time learning about the child you will be providing therapy for will give you more ideas for future sessions.
Sharing About You
Not only is it crucial to get to know the child that you are working with, but it goes the other way around as well. Children are more comfortable when working with adults that they are familiar with. An easy way to do this is to share some items from your life. Bring photos of your family. Share maps of fun locations you have visited. Perhaps read your favorite childhood story with them. All of these items will allow you to carry on conversations and explore a new or refreshed relationship. This would be a great time to share your knowledge of both languages, conversing first in the language they are more comfortable with and transitioning to English.
If you are able to get in touch with the child and their family, have them bring in 2-3 items that show fun they had over the summer. This will personalize the experience for the child and give them ownership. When they have a preset of what to expect in conversation, it may help to ease things. This is especially helpful to children that are bilingual learners. Spend time asking questions and waiting for answers about the items. Showing interest in the child’s items will make them feel special and let them see that they are important to you.
Take Time to Answer Questions or Concerns
When going back to school, even children get worried about what to expect. Allow time to answer any questions or concerns that have developed. Explain why you are working together, what your goals are as a team, and how you will be working on them during your time together. Let the child know that you are spending time doing this to get to know them to help plan the next sessions together.
Building confidence is key in any relationship with a child. Children who are bilingual learners need to know that you are on board with their needs, interest, and concerns. If you start fresh, listen, and show compassion you will be off to a beautiful academic year. What are some things you’ve done to help get to know kids at the beginning of the school year?