Spotlight on the 4 Cs – Communication
This is part one of a four part series on the four Cs of STEM. New here or want a review of what STEM or the 4Cs mean? Check out this article!
We know that solid STEM activities pack a whole lot of learning into an experience that feels like just having fun. One of the ways we know an activity is great for our kids is because it asks kids to share their thinking with each other in order to solve problems. Communication is SUCH an important life skill and virtually every career we can think of relies on thoughtful, efficient and respectful communication in order to achieve success. To dive into exactly what this means for our kiddos and how we can help support their growth, we’ll break it down!
What does Communication look like for kids?
Communication is a two sided coin – and both are equally important! In the world of Speech-Language specialists, verbal communication can be divided into the categories of receptive and expressive language. Receptive language has to do with what kids are taking in – active listening, making connections to what they’re hearing and processing new information alongside what they already know. Expressive language is how effectively a person is able to communicate orally – does what they say make sense, do they follow a standard back-and-forth rhythm, and is it easy for others to understand what they’re saying.
These two categories are definitely related, but each can each develop at different rates for different kids. And if you’re thinking of someone who tells an endless story (raises hand!), then you’ll know that even adults are always working to improve! But solid verbal communication skills are truly the base of the other teamwork skills. Without a clear way to express themselves, or the ability to listen and learn from others, working together as part of a team can feel frustrating for kids. But the great news? There are so many things you can do at home to help fast-track communication skills, all with your kids none-the-wiser.
What Can We Do at Home?
-Model active listening! When your kiddo is sharing a story, slow down, listen and ask thoughtful questions. This shows that their thoughts are important and that having a conversation is a two person job!
-Stay active during playtime. Rather than disappearing when your kids’ are playing, join them for a game or at least hang out in the same space. Give them specific shoutouts for all the awesome communication that happens naturally and be there to step in if they hit a sticky spot.
-Play games that depend on listening to each other and paying careful attention in order for the team to be successful! Family favorites like Guess Who and Memory are awesome ways to practice receptive and expressive language skills!
So What’s Next?
Feel like you’re a Communication Expert? Stay tuned for the next part of our series - Collaboration!