Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.
For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide
range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.
Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.
Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.
Host: What are games or other activities parents can play with their children to increase vocabulary?
Rene Hackney: There are a lot of games parents can play to increase vocabulary. There are something called The Objects in a bag game which is just that. You take a lot of household objects put them down into a bag and then everybody gets a turn to pull one out at a time. Now, when children are young, the three year olds, you might just label the object, A block! What are you going to do? Oh! A ball. and they are labeling and you are labeling as you go.
As kids get a little older, you want to add the functional definition. Those, what that object does, so, you pull out the block and you say Oh! A block, I could build with this. and then the child pulls out the ball and say, A ball. and you say What did you do? and the child says, I could bounce a ball. and so, the you are getting the functional definitions along with the game.
Playing I Spy is really easy language game. When children are really young you have to be very concrete about I Spy. You would say something like I Spy something round with numbers that tells us the time and it's over there.
So, children really can go and get it they know it's the clock and As they get older you can be a lot more vague I spy something round or I spy numbers, but when they are little you want to give him lots of language and then they are having to keep that language in mind while they are going to find that thing.
The memory game is a good one where you say things -- I remember playing it where we were packing suitcase for grandmas and you would go through the alphabet, I am packing an Apple and the next person would say I am packing an Apple and Banana and an Apple and Banana and a Coat and saying you are going through, but they are having to remember those words as they go.
Another game we called The Bunny and the Cup Game, but it really doesn t have to be a Bunny. What you do is you take two coffee cup and you have your little actions figuring, you are teaching them the preposition words or those locations words and you say I am going to put my Bunny on the cup. Can you put your Bunny on the cup? I am going to put my Bunny under the cup. Can you put your under the cup? and the child is learning to follow those directions and they are learning about in, on, over, under, near, far, above, below, and you can do it without the modeling. You can just say Hey can your Bunny go under? without yours, as they get older.
Another easy way to build vocabulary is to encourage children in preschool years to look through photo albums and to talk about the things that they are seeing. It's a nice way because often those are people they love and things they have done and places they ve went. So, they have of that vocabulary already.
Another Game is called the Crazy Directions Game or if you want to build children s listening skills and their vocabulary might say Okay, see if you can find the cat, jump up and down and run to the door and you are seeing, if children can keep that language in mind and in memory while they move through the action.