Mahalakshmi S is a Singaporean Early childhood educator who strongly believes in play-based learning for all EC students. Mahalakshmi has a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (Teaching) from Modern Montessori International Academy, Singapore and a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism management from Temasek Polytechnic.
Mahalakshmi has over 9 years of experience working with early learners in international pre-schools and kindergartens using the IB PYP framework to develop a sense of inquiry in her students. She loves to make learning fun through play. She believes in collaborating with her students throughout their learning journey and using technology prudently to help students achieve their goals.
The words we say to our children can affect their behaviour, motivation and achievements now and into the future. That’s why it’s essential to use positive language for children.
Positive language tells children why and how to do certain things. It’s a communication strategy that avoids using the words "no, don’t, stop".
When we implement this communication strategy with children, we offer specific guidance, reduce stress and fear, and boost confidence, understanding and empowerment. With these results, it’s easy to see why we adults want to replace negative language with positive language as we interact with our young ones.
Like parents can use positive language at home, preschool educators should also be mindful of using positive words with young children. The teachers in OWIS’ Early Childhood grades in our Nanyang campus and at One World Preschool, Mountbatten, already utilise this skill in the classroom. We have a passion for working with young children, and we’re also qualified and continuously keep upskilling to ensure we use best practices during your child's early years education.
We know that teachers can build strong, independent children with encouraging words. Things we say (and don’t say) have surprising consequences for what children learn and who they become. Let's learn more about how positive language in preschools benefits children.
Examples Of Positive Language
Teachers in early years education classes can use a variety of encouraging words to motivate and uplift preschool and kindergarten children. Here are a few suggestions that help us turn negative language into positive language for children.
How did you feel as you read the above statements? Personally, I feel better when I read the various examples of positive language. Children in preschool and kindergarten prefer and need to hear positive language, too. Read on to learn how positive language benefits children in several ways.
Benefits Of Using Positive Language For Young Children
Positive, encouraging words help children develop into positive, encouraging adults. With exposure to positive terms, children become confident about themselves and their abilities. Positive language also allows children to feel happier and more content.
We even encourage children to cooperate and utilise positive behaviour when we change the way we talk to children. While we think negative language will change a child’s behaviour, the opposite occurs. Our children need positivity, clear guidance and direct statements as they make behavioural changes.
Language helps to form a child’s brain too. I recently read the book "Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy." Written by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, this resource shares scientific evidence about words. A single negative word can increase fear and stress in a child’s brain, while a single positive word can promote brain function. Based on this evidence, we see that the choice of words we use with preschool and kindergarten children - or for that matter with adults - enhances brain function and can create a pattern of fear and stress or the qualities of confidence and calm.
Let’s review how we can incorporate positive language into our everyday conversations with our preschool children:
1. Notice when children are good. Praise reinforces good behaviour, so recognise when children take turns, share toys or follow the rules.
2. Separate children from their inappropriate behaviours. We can disapprove of certain actions while supporting our children and showing them unconditional love. For example, say, "Hitting your friend has hurt him and made him sad", rather than "You are a naughty child because you hit your friend".
3. Praise efforts, not just results. Show children that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes by role-modelling the expected behaviour.
4. Thank children and tell them how proud you are for taking responsibility, helping others, or completing chores and tasks.
5. Give children opportunities to do activities they enjoy and excel in. As part of the early years education in school and at home, this strategy builds competence and self-esteem plus empowers children to be risk-takers and explore new things in the future.
6. Show children that you have faith in their abilities and allow them to take risks. We destroy a child’s confidence and determination when we constantly tell them to be careful and avoid injury.
7. Avoid correcting every mistake and instead guide them to find answers. Allow children to practise learning through trial and error.
8. Discuss expectations with children instead of telling them what you don’t want them to do. Turn negative phrases into positive phrases that encourage and support them.
OWIS Educators Model Positive Language
Kindness is a core value at OWIS Nanyang and One World Preschool, Mountbatten and a trait our preschool educators use and model daily. We demonstrate respect for everyone at the school and create a warm and nurturing environment for your children at our preschool classes in Singapore. Because of our values, we use positive language. It’s a tool that benefits children in numerous ways.
Schedule a tour to learn more about all the ways we use positive language and kindness at our OWIS Nanyang campus and dedicated preschool at Mountbatten.