Observing Communication

During the day, I feel that I have conversations with children most of the day (except for nap time).  We talk about what they did the night before, what we are doing today, why they feel sad, or even what we are having for lunch.  Working with toddlers, I feel like I am a non-stop talking machine, why seems to be a favorite question.  This week I was able to sit back little and observe some other conversations that were happening around me, this is something that I usually do not get a chance to do because I am so busy talking. 

My favorite conversation this week was between a teacher and a little boy while he was sitting on the potty.  This little boy has just turned two, and he is one that spends most of his day asking why.  As he was sitting on the potty, he pointed to a picture if a xylophone that was on the wall.  And then he said “broken”.  She said “no not broken, that is a xylophone, it’s an instrument, would you like to play one?  He then nodded his head yes.  Then he pointed to the guitar, and she asked, “do you know how to play the guitar” (as she pretended to strum) and he said “no”.  Then he pointed again and said, “Ms. L?” She smiled and said, “no I don’t play the guitar”.  He then said, “Ms. K?” and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “we will have to ask her if she knows how to play”.  Once again, he pointed to the xylophone and said broken?”, the teacher smiled and said, “no not broken, let’s go find one for you to play”.  He then got up, she put on his diaper, the went to the room and she got out a few xylophones. 

What I loved most about this conversation is how responsive the teacher was to the little boy.  She engaged in a conversation with him, she was down on his level, and then she expanded on their conversation when she went back to the room and got out some xylophones.  Many times, I feel that we miss out on opportunities to connect with children because we are so focused on the task.  If the teacher had been rushing him, she would have missed the whole conversation, but she just stayed relaxed, and enjoyed their conversation with a smile on her face.  In this situation, I feel that the teacher did an awesome job!  I would not have changed anything about their communication.    I feel that the child got the sense that he mattered and what he was interested in mattered.  She was paying attention to him and he was enjoying their time.  If I were this child I would feel valued, loved and respected. 

What have I learned this week?  I have learned that sometimes I just need to slow down, relax and listen to hat children are saying.   I feel that overall I do a good job communicating with children, I feel that I respond t them with interest and that I am always on their level.  IF there is one thing that I could improve on is slowing down and just taking time to listen and watch more. 


3 thoughts on “Observing Communication

  1. Hi Cindy,
    I really enjoyed your post especially when you said that they child and mother was enjoying themselves and how they was having a great time. children are unique and when children have wonderful parent(s) it is very healthy for the child development. great post.


  2. Remembering to slow down is something I think about daily. But also remembering to use those routine moments (such as diapering and hand-washing times) as times for one-on-one interactions is so important. We often rush through them so that we can rejoin the child or ourselves back to the full group. But these are often moments throughout the day that might be are only chance for one-on-one opportunities with children so we really need to maximize on these times.

    I was recently asked to write about why furthering my education was important. I am not sure if you have read the news about how in D.C., they are now going to be requiring that all early childhood educators (directors included) have a degree in early childhood (some positions requiring a bachelors degree). While I do not think that this is feasible in all states yet (I know in my state there is no money to support this and I would hate for employees to have to take on the cost themselves or for it to be fully passed on to employers). I do think in the the future it should be a requirement, if even only requiring that all ECE workers have a CDA at the bare minimum.

    When I wrote my write-up that was published this week (http://mailchi.mp/734810103569/ask-senators-to-protect-child-care-funding-854481?e=ff6b974e82). I slightly referenced these experiences. When I first started in the field, I never gave a second thought to using these short down times to connect with children. I used to never think it was important to talk to babies as much as I do now. There is a lot to be said about experience, it does help. But what I have learned through formal coursework and my classmates has added so much more value to my experience.


  3. Hi, Cindy
    Your observation confirms that there are always teachable moments and learning can take place anywhere and at any time. According to (Smidt, 2013), everyone that works with children or pay attention to them recognize the importance of play to a child’s life wherever they are. As early childhood educators, it is important to remember infants and toddlers learn best when interacting and communicating during play.
    I agree that the way the teacher reacted to the child’s learning style was very supportive. She continues to expand the dialogue that made the child feel a part of the conversation not questioned.
    Once, again as teachers, we must engage in daily conversations with children as we foster their language development. According to (Gonzela-Mena & Eyer, 2004), all infants are born with some communication intent, but as teachers, we must encourage and provide their language skills.


    Smidt, S. (2013). The developing child in the 21st century: a global perspective on child development. London: Routledge.


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