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Promoting Language Skills Through Play

The Phebe Anna Thorne School offers traditional classes and specialized programs for children with speech and language-based difficulties.

Entering preschool and kindergarten is an exciting time for children. It’s a big jump in their ability to explore, learn, and discover their world. But for some children, especially those with language and speech-based learning difficulties, this time can be frustrating for them, and they need additional support.


The Phebe Anna Thorne School offers programming for children with identified speech and language difficulties at this critical early age. For children in preschool, the Language Enrichment Preschool Program (LEPP) lets preschool age children work closely with both a classroom teacher and a speech-language pathologist to improve their receptive, expressive, and social language skills.


These language skills are integral to both classroom and social life for children. Not sure what they are? Here are the basics:


Receptive Language is the ability to comprehend and process information said aloud, like verbal directions, following along with a storytime, or learning new facts. (An example: an instruction to “put the bear on the chair.”)


Expressive Language is the ability to put words together to form sentences using appropriate vocabulary and grammar in order to communicate ideas, tell stories, and provide information to others.


Social Language is as equally important, and is how children communicate with their peers, both during play and conversation. This is crucial in developing friendships and engaging in group activities.


Bolstering these these language skills through play is an integral part of LEPP. Children are able to enjoy a classic preschool curriculum while receiving support to help develop their speech and language skills. That’s happening even at circle time, during storytime, and through recreational play.


Thorne Kindergarten Center, in addition to serving typically developing children, also offers a full day program for children with identified speech and language difficulties, or children who are at risk for language-based learning differences. Children work closely with a speech therapist, the classroom teacher, and teaching assistant on verbal directions, verbal expression, phonological awareness, and social interaction. They learn individually, in small groups, during play, and in whole classroom learning activities. They also participate in a multi-sensory reading and math program, in addition to learning about various topics via weekly classroom themes, physical education, art, cooking, and science. 


The language programs at Thorne give kids a chance to become more aware of themselves and feel more empowered and successful — both academically and socially, in and out of the classroom.


For more information about the language programs at the Phebe Anna Thorne School, please contact: Kate Brown at the Kindergarten Center (cbrown2@brynmawr.edu 610-645-0204) or Bev McDonell at the Language Enrichment Preschool (bmcdonell@brynmawr.edu 610-526-7633).

Photographs courtesy of the Phebe Anna Thorne School. 


Learning to Play, Playing to Learn: The mission of the Thorne School is to provide play-based, developmentally appropriate child-centered programs for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners.


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