Developing language and belonging

Being able to communicate with others is important for a child to feel a sense of belonging.

Having knowledge of their native language (the language spoken by parents in the home) helps children feel part of that culture and strengthens family relationships.

Similarly, being able to communicate with other children and adults at an early childhood education and care service is important for children to feel part of their environment, make friends, feel secure and develop self-esteem. Children who feel secure and supported have the confidence to try new ideas and participate in learning opportunities, which can develop a love of learning.

Learning language

Each child learns differently. Your child may quietly observe others before trying to speak in a new language or they may try each word they learn immediately. They may understand and respond non-verbally or feel more secure answering in their first language. It’s important to support your child as they try, so they will feel secure to continue learning.

You can encourage your child to practise a new language by:

  • playing games
  • singing songs
  • listening to music
  • reading books in the new language.

Playing games with other children provides an opportunity for your child to learn new words and meanings in a flexible and fun environment.

Reading a book with clear images can help children understand the meaning, without using words.

Image Child and educator sound out a word together, practicing language

Published — 01 October 2016 Last updated — 18 January 2017