A week or so ago we had our plastic dinosaurs out in the classroom and I mentioned to a 3-year-old girl that I thought she was holding a brontosaurus.
She said: “No, Miss Ellie. It’s a brachiosaurus, see?” and pointed to the nostrils on top of its head. Fortunately I am the mother of 2 former dinosaur enthusiasts so I understood exactly what she meant and could agree!
Later another child joined us in the block and dinosaur area. This little girl, who is learning English, held up a flying dinosaur to me, and I said I thought it was a pterodactyl.
Much to our amazement, she responded: “From the pteranodon family.”
These interactions reminded me of how important it is to give children the correct labels for things, and not to “dumb down” our vocabulary. Being able to use technical terms appropriately is a powerful tool for children and adults alike!