This strategy is my number one go-to piece of advice and approach to my therapy sessions. It sounds incredibly simple, so much that we often dismiss it. But when we really dig into the many ways that we can follow a child’s lead, tune in and build on their ideas, then we’re in a much better position to support their learning.
Simple right?! Maybe not. The trick is to notice when we’re trying to direct, advise or change the play. Often we have an existing picture in our head of how the train track should be laid down, or how the stacking cups should nest together. It can be quite hard to slow down and watch how a child discovers different ways of playing with what’s available.
Being child-led in your play together supports a child’s attention, their motivation to stay in the play and their ability to learn new words. And this is because you’re able to give them the words that are really relevant to what they’re interested in.
Here’s to embracing the unexpected and learning together from what children have to show us.