Working on early childhood language development is my favorite thing to do in my speech room. While I do have students who work on articulation skills, the language impaired students at this age seem to progress so quickly. I live for those light bulb moments when students learn the name of something or use their language to get what they want.
Speech therapy for preschool students can be challenging but with a consistent and predictable schedule for each session, it is completely possible to have fun and make progress on speech therapy goals at the same time.
Planning speech therapy sessions
Many of the preschool speech therapy goals we work on are for Tier 1 basic and seasonal vocabulary so it just makes sense to plan my speech therapy themes by month. With the hybrid lessons going on this year, I broke them down into weeks. This week’s lesson plans are all about squirrels and leaves. Get your copy here!
Songs for preschoolers
My weekly lesson plans follow my speech therapy schedule. We always start with a song that typically focuses on action words or spatial concepts. The songs in this week’s lesson plans target seasonal vocabulary, action words, positions, colors, body parts and descriptive vocabulary.
Preschool Books for Language Development
Many of my preschool speech therapy ideas begin with a good book. Reading a book always comes after our song. It is important to have a book that has simple, basic vocabulary or that you can adapt for students with shortened attention spans. Less distracting illustrations are also a good idea for many younger students.
Using repetitive books in speech therapy is also a great way to encourage students to use expressive language. One example I have shared this week is The Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves. After hearing it several times, you are able to pause and hopefully some students will say the word or phrase you lead up to.
During our “book time” at the table, we also may work on worksheets specific to the students’ goals when appropriate.
Developing Language Through Play
Using objects with students who have emerging language skills to generalize the vocabulary from the pictures in the book is critical. Our next activity in our speech therapy session is “play”. Sometimes we don’t even leave the table for these activities. Looking at toys and exploring them leads to taking turns with one another. Once my students show the ability to accept and give toys between their peers, we may move to the floor to play.
This week we will play with the rakes (I have this set) and leaves (decorative ones from Dollar Tree), plastic acorns and stuffed squirrels. In years’ past, we have played The Sneaky Squirrel Game but this year I have linked a free virtual option for that. If you have time to sanitize between sessions, the original is a great game.
Play doesn’t have to take long, sometimes it is only five minutes but it always leads to “clean up” time which tells the students it is almost time to leave.
Wrapping up our session
Teaching kids to clean up after themselves is important, but equally important is helping them learn to regulate their emotions and accept changes in their routine. Our clean up time begins with that wonderful classic clean up song from Barney. When I start singing it, the students know it is time to transition back to class. Our time together is coming to an end.
Do we still have hesitant helpers or the occasional tears? Of course, but we see students learn appropriate behaviors faster using this routine.
I’m sharing these activities with you to help take some of the stress of planning off your plate. My hope is that you will be able to find something to meet the needs of every student on your caseload. I hope you have a fantastic week in speech therapy!