Listening skills are critical for not only academic and professional success but all aspects to life. Active listening facilitates relationships, everything from navigating brief encounters during the day to long term friendships and family relations. Most people assume they have mastered listening, yet few truly engage in active listening. My parents were very intentional with teaching active listening skills, yet, I often formulate a response as people talk and can be easily influenced by emotion. Nevertheless, I can find it endlessly frustrating when my own kids fail to listen.
I love the simple methods Mother Goose Time uses to strengthen children’s listening skills. The most obvious is what occurs during the circle time routine. It sets the stage for the most important step in listening–cease talking! The children must learn to sit still, refrain from talking, and absorb the information the teacher is providing. Although it is interactive (discussing the day, weather, etc), it is no small feat for a young child.
Further refinement can be found in the Teacher Guide and the Christian Experience story cards, They typically have suggestions for a movement the kids can repeat every time they hear a particular word in a story. It can be as simple as holding up “claws” or acting out a particular movement, as shown below.
On Day 8 of In the Orchard, sight word pointers were included for the children to pinpoint sight words in the monthly ‘I Can Read’ book. During our bedtime routine, the kids enjoyed raising their arrow every time their particular word was read in a library book.
The Experience More Literacy and Math add on work books require listening skills to correctly complete the activities. Like this page had the children cut out four apples, a porcupine, and two worms. Then it provided instructions on where to place each shape, leaving one apple out. (This flustered my son who politely pleaded to glue the fourth apple on the tree.) I usually allow more freedom for interpretation during the four daily lessons and then require them to complete the Experience More Literacy and Math as directed but there is always room for exceptions. It can be tricky finding an appropriate balance of fostering creativity or decision making and learning to follow directions!
The Christian Experience add-on included sequencing cards. The children used them to retell the Bible story to both their dad and grandmother. Not only does it require listening skills, it demonstrates reading comprehension. Honestly, I was surprised by the challenge this presented them. It truly shows how much room for growth exists.
These are only a small sample of the numerous ways Mother Goose Time introduces vital listening skills to its students. Most are quite subtle yet effective and appropriate for the target student age.