The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice
By Ms Jackie Becher
At EtonHouse Schools and Pre-schools we respect young children and people. This lies at the heart of our curriculum and our policies. When speaking with children and young people EtonHouse expects our staff to be mindful of their thinking and emotions. We regularly talk with our staff about language that promotes learning and language that stifles the ability to think for ourselves and our inner voice.
Here is an example ….
At EtonHouse we avoid using “be careful” with our children and young people. Our staff know that the words “be careful” can contribute to creating an inner voice of fear. We are sending the message to children that there is danger ahead. Fear prevents children from taking risks, making mistakes and being creative. These are skills they are going to need in their workplace. As such, we avoid language like “be careful”.
Our approach is about teaching children to be aware of their environment, take notice, respond and shift their actions and behaviours appropriately so they are successful in any situation. This means that our language is about taking notice, providing children with suggestions and making them aware of how they are feeling. This gives children and young people strategies for looking after ourselves.
Here are some examples of how we speak to children in our schools ….
Notice how …. the floor is wet, the mud is slippery, the path is bumpy
Do you see … a dog nearby, your friends want to play to, that sharp stick?
Try …. moving your feet slowly, taking little steps, bending from your knees
Are you feeling … knots in your tummy, tired, scared?
EtonHouse staff extend this language by helping children and young people respond to their environment.
Here are some examples …
What is your plan for walking across the muddy path?
What can you use for your adventure?
Where will you put your toys?
How will you climb up there?
Who will be able to help you?
We talk to children in this way helping them to identify the problem they are facing and we begin to provide them strategies with how to overcome the situation. We are creating a strong inner voice in our children enabling them to learn how to listen to their bodies and their environment. This inner voice will allow children and young people to monitor themselves independently. At EtonHouse we know skills such as these create strong young people who are independent and are capable of solving their own problems.
If you would like to know more about how we talk to children in order to guide their behaviour why not ring one of our schools and book a tour. We would be only too happy to share more examples like this with you!