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I welcome children to the nursery where possible at eye level. It is good when speaking at eye level with young children and this approach is even more crucial when communicating with children with special needs. It was easier for the child to focus on my face and process what I was saying to him. Because this particular child had hearing loss, eye-level communication increased the intensity of the signal by moving closer. Being close to babies and children and at their eye level showed more my interest and that I paid attention to them.

Thus children began to believe that I was genuinely interested to them and some of them began imitating my attentive behaviour. Showing positive facial expressions Facial expressions add meaning to words. Our faces give important cues as to our feelings. Facial expressions serve as a message source to our emotional states of happiness, fear, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, interest… For infants, their own and their care-givers’ facial expressions are crucial to the development of attachment.

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By 3 months infants can distinguish between positive and negative expressions. Attempts to control facial expressions occur as early as 3 months and by 2 years most children can plan and display a chosen facial expression. When Emily (aged 3 years) came near me to show me her drawing I made a facial expression of interest and she already knew that I liked her drawing. Then I praised her. Thus I encouraged to gain self confidence and self esteem in herself. Show interest and ask questions The way in which questions are phrased makes a difference to the answers you receive.

Questions can be useful to clarify something you are unsure of and can indicate to the other person that you are interested in what they have to say by extending the conversation further. An open question offers the opportunity for a wide-ranging answer. While closed questions restrict the answer to one word such as “yes” or “no”. For example after lunchtime I did not asked Tom (boy from the nursery aged 2 years 7 months) “Did you enjoy your lunch? ” The likely answers he could give me were a “yes” or a “no”.

Instead I asked him “What do you prefer to eat at lunch time? ” He answered “bread with cheese”. This question offered the opportunity for a range of answers and therefore extends conversation. Listening Listening is not the same as hearing (as for example when listening to music). When you listen you need to take in the information and often act upon it. In my placement setting I was able to listen to children telling their interests, listened children asking for my help, and listened to them sharing their experiences of activities with me.

A situation that occurred in the nursery was when I listened Paul crying as Alexia scribbled on his picture. I stopped what I was doing (that time I was helping the care clearing a table for lunch time) and sat down with Paul to listen to what he was saying. At first he was very distressed, but then he began to calm down with my full attention. Alexia did not have any attention from me. So Paul was able to explain to me what happened more clearly (using simple words). Then when he was completely calm and ready to go back to play, Alexia found a piece of paper for him to draw another picture.

References http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/

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