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Putnam County R-I Schools

Elementary School


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Language Development, Raccoons, and Foxes. Oh my!

November is here, and the sun is shining! It has been a beautiful start to fall. In speech class, we are looking forward to learning festive vocabulary and learning more about forest creatures.  Living in a rural area lends itself to special first-hand knowledge of wild forest animals. Missouri Department of Conservation has a great website (https://mdc.mo.gov/) to explore native animals and their habitats.  In this way, language development can be exciting and easy for kids.  A child’s growing brain is hard-wired to seek language development, desiring to learn about new things just by clicking on a website. Watch your child take off and explore!  New vocabulary, pictures, and habitats...Oh my! 

Another important thing to consider…In my many years of doing naming and describing tasks, I’ve noticed kids mostly gravitate towards learning about farm and zoo animals. The important and lesser-known category of forest animals is a rare opportunity to stimulate language learning and growth with native animals and personal accounts/stories from our homes. Stories such as… “My Mom had a friend with a pet raccoon” or “One year, two fawns nestled and slept right behind our house”. Learning about these lesser-known animals through personal stories helps a child grow language through emotion. Our emotional memory (episodic memory) is one of our strongest memory abilities. This is why a person remembers what they were wearing or what they ate for breakfast on the day their child was born. Those memories are bonded to important emotions, and they often stay with us for life.  Emotion also drives a desire to learn more.  And who doesn’t love a child’s face after introducing them to something new and watching them dive whole-heartedly into reading and googling to learn more! I get goosebumps just typing it.  Language development can be an exciting and emotional experience for the whole family!