Good listening skills are important for being able to join in with activities and interacting with others.
The development of listening and attention skills is essential to promote a child’s understanding and use of language.
In Reception children will usually:
- Sit and listen for small and large group activities for around 10 minutes e.g. circle time or listening to a story with minimal adult support
- Concentrate on adult chosen activities including table top games e.g. puzzles, books and mark making for around five minutes
- Concentrate for longer on a task of their choosing
- Follow instructions without stopping what they are doing; known as ‘two channelled attention’
You can help by:
- Making sure you look at the child you are speaking to/
- Ensuring you have the child’s attention before giving instruction: e.g say the child’s name first and wait for them to look.
- Minimising background noise and visual distraction both inside and outside the classroom.
- Minimise visual distractions, especially behind the teacher.
- Try to keep child’s desk free from unneeded items.
- Be in front of and look at the child you are speaking to.
- Use the child’s name to get their attention and wait for them to look at you before giving an instruction.
- Ensure you have the child’s attention e.g. not playing with something before giving an instruction.
- Providing a ‘talking object’ e.g. a shell. When one child is speaking they must be holding the talking shell, which means that everyone else (including the adults) must listen to what they say.
- Making allowances for the child’s short concentration span.
- Carrying out listening activities to build the child’s skills – please see resource below for ideas.