This weekend sees many people all over the world celebrate the Hindu festival Deepavali, also known as “Festival of Lights”. But how can this vibrant and colourful celebration have any bearing on a child’s learning or language therapy?
Well, for the children celebrating and observing Deepavali, there is an abundance of vocabulary that can be learned! And this brings us to what vocabulary is and how festivals and special occasions can stimulate language development in children.
When we talk about vocabulary, we are talking about the names we use for words or sets of words. Everything has a name and those labels are collected and stored in our vocabulary! We can understand many words (receptive vocabulary) and use many words (expressive vocabulary). So, as children get older, they naturally pick up and use more vocabulary.
Some children do struggle to expand their vocabulary, and this can be for lots of reasons. The effects are that they may have difficulty following instructions, understanding what you are talking about, and expressing their thoughts and ideas clearly. Vocabulary development depends on the exposure the child has to new words and contexts. Some children come to speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and educational therapy where various vocabulary and strategies are taught.
How does all this relate to Deepavali? For many festivals there are specific words that will relate to that event. This weekend, your child has the opportunity to learn many vocabulary words in the Deepavali context and expand their learning. These might include:
They can learn these through you showing them the relevant words and explaining or describing, “Look, there’s a chariot; it’s silver and has wheels”.
Other holidays have their own specific vocabulary too. For instance, Christmas vocabulary might include “Christmas tree” or “presents”, and for Chinese New Year we may associate the vocabulary, “lantern” or “firecracker”.
What vocabulary can you think of that relates to Singaporean holidays? Tell us in the comments below.