This Month in Speech and Language
Skill of the Month
We ask toddlers, “Where is your nose?” They point to their nose. We follow up with different concept phrases like, “Your nose is on your face,” “Your nose is above your lips,” “Your nose is on the front of your head.” This type of response embeds concept words—expanding on and making them a regular part of language. Using concepts in “teachable moments” helps children understand, and later generalize, the concepts for further learning. I Spy and I See are examples of games that can use spatial concepts in a fun way. For example, “I see a book. Where is it?” When the child finds or points to it, an adult responds with, “The book is on the shelf…in the book bag… under the table… by the bed… above the table… beside the chair.”
It is easy to include concepts while interacting with your child by talking in great detail and description. For example, a mother may tell her kindergarten child, “Take off your coat and boots. Hang your blue coat in the closet on the little hook above the doorknob. Put your red boots on the rubber mat by the door. Now lie down and rest beside your dad before we have dinner.” In just a few seconds, this child must listen to over ten concepts, make sense of them, and then follow through with the directions. Think of all of the verbal directions a teacher gives each student every day at school. Spatial concepts, along with other basic concepts, are essential for success in school and daily activities at home (from Super Duper, 2009).