Strive for Five for success
A strategy which encourages positive, engaging, early experience with language, is closely linked to later academic outcomes.
Strive for Five is recommended by Goodstart Early Learning senior speech pathologist Tiffany Goss, and encourages parents to pause during conversations and use non-verbal cues to extend vocabulary.
Using the theories endorsed by the UK’s The Hanen Centre, Ms Goss said parents had always been advised to talk to their child to help them learn language. But she said it was not always the number of words that was important, it was the quality of the conversation that counts.
“It’s a simple and effective communication tool that gives parents the skills to help children learn language and can amplify children’s development,” Ms Goss said. “It’s about active listening and pausing and letting the child respond to questions or statements.”
The Strive for Five strategy involves parents taking part in a five-step (or more) conversation with their child – in other words, having five turns in a conversation using sentences or non-verbal responses.
“The strategy is all about extending language and looks different for children at every age. Babies can communicate a lot more with facial expressions and vocalisations, while older children will often be more verbal and descriptive.
“When your interaction with your child is sustained, there is more depth to it and it gives them more time to practice, understand and engage in language and communicate successfully.”
Ms Goss said parents could follow a few simple tips using the Strive for Five strategy, to ensure everyday conversations moved back and forth successfully, without having to find extra time to support children’s communication skills.
Strive for Five tips for parents
- Observe your child and note what he/she is doing. If your child is having a bath, it’s a great time to talk about what’s happening. For example:
- MUM: Bath time! We’re in the bathroom so that means bath time. (STATEMENT)
- CHILD: Bath time! (REACTION)
- MUM: What should we do first? (QUESTION)
- CHILD: Points to tap and says: On! (ANSWER)
- MUM: Yes! Tap on. Let’s turn tap on. Water whoosh. (ANSWER AND REACTION AND COMMENT)
- CHILD: Whoosh. (REACTION)
- Try to make comments as well as asking questions.
- Listen to what your child’s response and give them time to respond. This helps the interaction flow back and forth.
- It is important to consider your child’s routine and incorporate interactions in to these times. This will provide opportunities for your child to learn and experience how language is used every day.