This study investigated the characteristics of educators’ talk about decontextualised events with young children in seven early childhood long day care centres in Sydney, Australia. Educators were partnered with up to six children aged between 27- 60 months. Across two time points 85 educator-child dyads discussed past and future events. Educators’ use of questions, contextual statements, evaluations and prompts and children’s use of questions, open-ended responses, yes-no responses and spontaneous information statements were examined. Educators’ evaluative statements were highly correlated and educators’ questions were moderately correlated with children’s open-ended responses in past event conversations. Educators’ evaluative statements were highly correlated with children’s open-ended responses in future event conversations and were the only significant predictor for children’s talk. Given the important role of educators in scaffolding children’s thinking and communication skills, the recommended strategies for educators’ talk in decontextualised conversations include; sharing the conversational load, making frequent contextual statements and following the child’s lead/interests.
- decontextualised talk
- future talk