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Why is attention so important to language?

Why is building attention important for gaining skills in language and speech?

This chart shows how a child’s development of speech and language builds. It is important that the child has learnt skills in the lower section before they are able to move up the pyramid. The development of attention and listening continues to develop from birth until around 6 years of age.

Early attention building activity – Attention Bucket

Resources: non transparent bucket, 3 interesting items
Aim: to make the adult the focus of attention

The adult holds the bucket with the items in and they focus their attention on the bucket. The adult sings “I’ve got something in my bucket, in my bucket, in my bucket, I’ve got something in my bucket what will it be”. The adult then takes the item from the bucket and animates it, without giving it to the child or saying anything. The adult names the item and what it is doing and returns it to the bucket.

The focus is to create a motivating and fun experience for everyone. There should be minimal distractions and the most attention-grabbing aspect should be the lead adult and what they are sharing. Language should be minimal, repetitive, motivating and focused on the item or activity. The aim being creating an irresistible invitation to share and learn using visually exciting objects or activities.