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Effective Communication Skills Are the Most Essential Skills for a Teacher to Have

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To create a successful learning environment, an early childhood educator must communicate effectively with their students, colleagues, parents and caregivers. In order to establish a firm evidence base for the view that effective communication skills are the most essential skill for early childhood educators, this essay will examine those communication skills that must be developed in young children, the manner in which early childhood educators develop these skills and the communication skills that early childhood educators must hold and demonstrate with parents and caregivers and with their colleagues to establish a supportive learning environment for the children.

An early childhood educator must conduct their lessons in a way that supports the development of a child's communication skills. Young children are starting to understand the world of people, objects and how they fit into it. They are willing learners who are beginning to understand more and more complex ideas. Communicating with them and answering their questions effectively, can help to develop their understanding of the world (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2007). The role of an early childhood educator is to ensure that young children develop effective communication skills before they transition into school and adult life.

The teaching of effective communication between young children and their peers, gives them the foundations for how they interact with people throughout their lives. Epstein, Coates, Salinas, Saunders and Simon (1997) suggest that by encouraging children to communicate with their peers it helps to establish and maintain relationships.

Nonverbal communication is a way of expressing meaning and ideas. It determines the way a message is received and understood. According to Knapp (1978), nonverbal communication includes kinesics (body language and facial expressions), tactilism (emotive behaviour), paralanguage (manner and tone of voice), proxemics (detachment or space), artefacts (personal appearance, e.g. clothing) and environmental factors. For an early childhood educator to effectively convey a message to young children, colleagues, parents and caregivers, these elements of nonverbal communication must be utilised.

The arts (music, dance, drama and visual arts) provide nonverbal ways to communicate when children do not have the words available (Arthur, McArdle, & Papic, 2010). Children can learn to convey messages through singing, dancing or by creating an artwork and can use these tools to help communicate their ideas.

When children are at the age of early childhood education, they are ready for more organised play. They grow away from being interested in only their ideas to being interested in the actions and feelings of others. Lagoni, et al., (1989) suggest that young children should be encouraged to play as a means of communicating how they feel about themselves and the world



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