Before I start my story about how I used my Conversation Cards today, let me explain these little gems. There versatile and multi purpose cards are by Laura Henry titled “Confident Talkers” They contain cards with open ended questions to use with children to encourage conversations. Of course as good practitioners, we use open ended questions on a daily basis, but we could all do with some help to enhance and build on what we do. It’s good to have a different question, which not only help the children to be confident talkers, but confident thinkers too.
Back to my story. I love talking to parents about all things children. I often have coffee chats with the parents of my settings about the many facets of childcare. Recently I have been developing a collaboration with a Children’s Centre near to one of my new settings. The new manager and I share visions of child and family care. I was honoured that she asked me to talk to the parents in her centre about the importance of play.
Now I’ve done this before, but somehow this time, I couldn’t get my preparation quite together. I wrote a few notes, changed them round, and I was feeling restless about the presentation. Then I had a light bulb moment, and decided the way to show and talk about the importance of play…was to play! What do I consider one of the most important points? Has to be communication and language development through play. I raised my cupboards for ingredients for cloud dough (7cups of flour/ one cup of oil) borrowed some toys from the setting. Ooh a bit of transient art, some nature resources plus some maths games. You’re never too old to play!
And then in the corner of my eye I spotted my new Conversation Cards. Hmmm, brilliant! This will weave it all together beautifully with the importance of language and communication at the heart of my chat, developing children as confident talkers is central to our practice, and should be promoted in family life.
My Conversation Cards were a huge success. Parents were interested in using the questions with play ideas. Some parents struggled to ask their children questions, other than those which the answer was “nothing”, usually to “what did you do at school?” (Not my pre-school of course!!!) That brought the discussion to what questions would be interesting to children, maybe they don’t want that regular questions when they get home from school. All the parents had a good rummage, choosing their favourites. I was so happy that the parents showed such genuine interest in encouraging their children to be confident talkers..thanks to my little gems, Confident Talkers, by Laura Henry.
P.S I have lots more ideas for my new cards!😉