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Nature - A Powerful Tool for Fostering Language and Literacy

by Ruth A. Wilson
November/December 2007
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/nature--a-powerful-tool-for-fostering-language-and-literacy/5017850/

One of the most dramatic stories I heard during my 35 years as an educator was shared by a preschool teacher working with children with special needs. This teacher, Linda, told me about a four-year-old girl with autism who had been in her classroom for three months before she spoke her first word or made any obvious attempt to communicate. The breakthrough came early in the day as the children were arriving at school.

Linda had emptied the water table and was now using it to incubate some duck eggs. Over the past several days, she had shared books about ducks and how they hatch. The children were excited and frequently checked on their progress. They knew what to look for because Linda had carefully explained how the baby ducks would peck their way out of the eggs.

Ellie, the little girl with autism, was one of the first children to arrive at school that day. Ellie's mother brought her into the classroom and was asking Linda about an up-coming event at the school. Ellie walked over to the duck eggs and cried, "Look!" One of the eggs had cracked, and a duckling's beak and eyes were clearly visible. Linda and ...

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