Program

Jul 24, 2007

OVERVIEW

Learning Language and Loving It: The Hanen
Program for Early Childhood Educators is a program designed to promote
children’s social, language, and literacy development in early childhood
settings. In a random assignment study, child care providers in the
treatment group were assigned to receive Hanen
training on supporting positive peer interactions. Providers in the
control group received training on supporting interactions between children and
adults. Providers who received training on supporting peer interactions
were significantly more likely to verbally support peer interaction than were
providers who did not receive this training. Specifically, they were more
likely to facilitate communication between children and to invite children to
interact together. These verbal cues led to more instances of children
initiating interaction with their peers and more instances of peers responding
to that initiation appropriately. The cues also led to more instances of
children refusing to interact with peers.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:child care providers

Learning Language and Loving It is a program designed to
promote children’s social, language, and literacy development in early
childhood settings. The program is primarily delivered in the form of a
workshop series for early childhood educators. Workshop topics include verbally
supporting interaction between children, developing play situations that
encourage interaction between children, and interacting with children in
child-friendly ways. Workshop activities include film-viewing,
discussions, and role-plays.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Girolametto, L.,
Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J. (2004).The
Effects of Verbal Support Strategies on Small-Group Peer Interactions. Language,
Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 35
, 254-268.

Evaluated population: 17 child care providers from
seven licensed day care centers in metropolitan Toronto, Canada
constituted the study sample for this investigation. All of the child
care providers were women who at least two years of experience in child care
settings. Additionally, they all had completed two years of postsecondary
education in early childhood education. Children ranged in age from 32 to
54 months.

Approach: Child care providers were randomly assigned
by center to an experimental group (4 centers) and a control group (3
centers). Both groups received a six-week program, led by a
speech-language pathologist.

The experimental group received Hanen
lessons on developing peer interaction skills. Over the course of six
sessions, they watched films and participated in discussions on providing
children with interaction-friendly activities and giving children verbal
support to interact. Providers were also videotaped interacting with
children on three separate occasions and were provided with feedback on their
interactions.

The control group received Hanen
lessons on strategies for enhancing adult-child interactions within small
groups. Over the course of six sessions, they watched films and
participated in discussions on how to interact with children in child-friendly
ways. Providers were also videotaped interacting with children on three
separate occasions and were provided with feedback on their interactions.

Immediately before the six-week program commenced, all
teachers were videotaped interacting with four children for 15 minutes in the
dramatic play area and for 15 minutes in the block play area. Teachers
were re-videotaped immediately upon completion of the program, and again, three
months later.

Tapes were coded for instances of verbal support on the part
of teachers. These supports were classified into the domains of
restriction (i.e., stating a rule that restricts action), communication
facilitation (i.e., interpreting a child’s utterance or prompting a child to
speak), peer referral (i.e., inviting children to interact with each other),
and indirect referral (i.e., alerting children to things they have in
common). Tapes were also coded to reflect children’s responses to
caregiver’s verbal supports. Children were classified as following the
provider’s suggestion to interact with a peer (uptake) or ignoring or overtly
rejecting the provider’s suggestion (override). Peer responses to the
initiation of interaction were classified as appropriate (acknowledge) or as
ignoring or rejecting (no response).

Results: Upon completion of the program, compared
with providers assigned to the control condition, providers assigned to the
experimental condition used a significantly higher number of verbal
supports. Additionally, a higher percentage of their utterances were
supports. Providers assigned to the experimental condition facilitated
communication and engaged in peer referral more often than control providers,
but did not restrict or engage in indirect referral significantly more often.

Compared with children in child care centers assigned to the
control group, children in centers assigned to the experimental group used a
significantly greater number of both uptakes and overrides. The
proportion of caregivers’ verbal supports that led to uptakes was greater in
the experimental group, but only marginally so. Similarly, the proportion
of supports that led to overrides was lower in the experimental group, but only
marginally so. Experimental children were not more likely to respond to
the initiation of interaction appropriately or any less likely to respond by
ignoring or rejecting. The absolute number of appropriate responses to
interaction initiation was significantly higher in the experimental group,
however.

Non-experimental analyses revealed that, within the
experimental group, communication facilitation and peer referrals were the most
successful methods of encouraging interaction between children.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Curriculum materials available for purchase at:

http://www.hanen.org/Programs/For-Educators/Learning-Language-Loving-It.aspx

References:

Girolametto, L., Weitzman, E.,
Greenberg, J. (2004).The Effects of
Verbal Support Strategies on Small-Group Peer Interactions. Language,
Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 35
, 254-268.

KEYWORDS: Early Childhood Education, Literacy,
Social/Emotional Health and Development, Child Care Providers, Child Care,
Early Childhood (0-5), Infants, Toddlers, Children, Life Skills, Pre-School.

Program information last updated on
7/24/07.