Developing Languages in ECE

YCIS Beijing Maryanne Harper

On Tuesday, January 14th the Yew Chung International School of Beijing Early Childhood Education Coordinators, Maryanne Harper and her Chinese counterpart, Bridgett Ren presented a workshop to parents focusing on language development. The workshop highlighted several ways in which storytelling and reading can be used to develop language.

Mrs. Harper talked to us about key points from the workshop and how parents can use specific resources to meet their child’s needs.


YCIS BJ ECE Student Reading

What was the purpose of this workshop?
The workshop was an opportunity for ECE families to develop a greater understanding of how we can use stories to develop language skills for children, both in their mother tongue and additional languages. When we look at language and communication, we consider 3 areas; listening and attention, understanding and speaking.
Stories give lots of wonderful opportunity to practice skills in all of these areas.

What can parents do if they are concerned about their child’s language development? What actions can they take?
As with all aspects of child development, we realise that all children are unique and develop in all areas at a different rate. If parents have any particular concerns, they can speak to their child’s teachers. They can offer reassurance and strategies to use at home.


YCIS Beijing ECE Coordinator

What key points did you share with parents? 

  • Highlighting the use of stories as a springboard for conversation, discussions and storytelling.
  • Stories and pictures provide meaningful contexts to develop vocabulary.
  • Children’s interests, knowledge and feelings can be enhanced and extended through stories and books; both fiction and non-fiction.
  • Story patterns, repetition and rhyme within books and stories can provide wonderful opportunities for participation and enjoyment. 
  • Retelling stories can provide meaningful practice to use words and phrases that promote language development.

What resources and tips can parents use to aid with language development?
- Books, books, books! Visit the library, go online or even make your own books together.


YCIS BJ ECE Parents

- Talking and conversation are very important.
- Sing together. Songs also provide rich language learning for children
- Make story reading an important part of your daily routines.

According to Mrs. Harper “Language and communication assist with social and emotional development and with areas of numeracy and literacy learning.”

Read about how storytelling can help build pre-reading skills in ECE learners by clicking here.

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