Children aren’t learning enough because parents aren’t talking
enough, and learning to correct that was the main focus of the “I Am
Your Child” conference Saturday at Abilene Christian University.

Vicki Hayhurst of Region XIV Education Service Center and secretary
for the Big Country Coalition training board was one of the coordinators
for the event.

“(Parents) should be talking,” she said. “Talking when they’re
changing that diaper, talking when they’re feeding, talking when they’re
putting their clothes on.

“One thing we find is that language that is happening in the home is
more directive. They’re spending more time telling (the child) what to
do, what not to do. What they need to be doing is talking about their
surroundings, what’s happening around them.”

Hayhurst gave examples of pointing out and talking about items in the
grocery store, talking about what’s outside the car as they drive down
the road or what’s going on inside the car. Such talk should commence as
soon as the child is born.

“Just naming things, broadening their knowledge of what those words
are,” she said. “It’s not just about naming the items, it’s about
knowing what it is, understanding how it’s used and where it comes

Hayhurst said children entering the school systems often have
vocabularies of only about 600 words when 900 would be more appropriate.

Part of the Saturday program was aimed at helping providers educate

Language is extremely important at this young age and it needs to be
happening all the time
,” she said. “They can educate the parents better
on what needs to be happening in the home along with language

The conference, in its 11th year, focuses on child-care providers in
the area. The Big Country Coalition consists of early childhood agencies
that serve child-care providers.

What we’re trying to drive home this year is that school readiness
begins even as young as infancy
,” Hayhurst said. “How that works is
developing language. So we’ll have language topics.”

A variety of child care provision agencies either had presentations
during the day or booths in a vendor area. Information on child care
licensing and programs offered through Early Childhood Intervention,
Child Find and New Horizons was available.

“New Horizons is doing a topic on self-care for the providers,”
Hayhurst said. “It’s important for them to understand that they need to
take care of themselves so they can be better providers for the

Child Find seeks children who have special needs and will need extra help before they enter the school system.

Hayhurst said 260 people, mostly from the child-care field but also a
few parents, had registered, and that most had attended despite heavy
morning rains.


Source: Abilene Reporter-News –

MATH – Teach Your Child to Count to 10

READY – Early Math iPhone/iPad Application: iCount-to-10