Think about joining a new exercise class. You join a group because you can learn new skills along with other people who are similar in age and skill level. The teacher introduces a skill then gives you time to practice with other people in the class. You can watch how other people are practicing the new skill, practice the new skill with many different people in the class, and provide a model for others who may be struggling with the skill. You feel more comfortable with your new skill because you had the opportunity to learn it and practice it in a safe environment with people with similar interests.
When children are surrounded by other children similar in age and skill level, their learning thrives. Like the example above, the teacher introduces a new skill and the children are able to practice in a safe place. Communication is very complex and can be difficult to grasp each concept of it. Participating in a group allows children to:
We often say that parents are great communication models for their children. This still remains true; however, when children are learning how to use communication, other children can provide an even more powerful model.
When children are able to practice a new skill multiple times with other children, they will feel more comfortable using the new skill in other environments in their daily life.
Written by Kristin Lipp, Wildflowers’ Speech-Language Pathologist