Leah Zabari

My mouth is watering just thinking of the banana split I am about to eat on a super-hot, sunny afternoon. I must follow all the steps to making this banana split so it can be the best dessert ever!

Putting it all together:

FIRST- split a banana in half and then place it in the bowl

SECOND- put three scoops of your favorite ice cream on top of the banana

THIRD- decide on a topping- chocolate, caramel, hot fudge

FOURTH- go ahead and sprinkle some jimmies on it

FIFTH- let loose with a big pile of whipped cream

SIXTH- finally, drop a cherry on top of that delicious pile of dessert!

Do you see how each ingredient builds on each other? Each step is getting sweeter and better! Now, try making a conversation with a child using the banana split analogy.

Below are the steps:

Putting it all together:

FIRST- sit on the floor with a child that is engaged in play (banana)

SECOND- comment on what the child is playing with (ice cream)

THIRD- when the child responds, expand on his words and add more vocabulary (topping)

FOURTH- comment on what the child is doing and ask open-ended questions to engage the child even more (jimmies)

FIFTH- encourage the child to connect what he is doing with his experiences in the world (whipped cream)

SIXTH- continue the conversation to encourage language development by adding elements to learning; asking the child to make predictions, connect his actions with previous knowledge, encourage peer involvement.


Teacher: Hi Levi! May I join you in the block center? (banana)

Child: Okay

Teacher: I see that you are playing with the trucks. Which truck do you like the best?

Child: I like the blue truck

Teacher: Oh! You like the blue truck the best? I love the color blue! Are there any more trucks in the block center? Would you like to find more? (ice cream)

Child: Okay! I see another one!

Teacher: Wow! You found a small yellow truck. That one matches the yellow color you used to paint your daffodil picture. I wonder if you can find anything else that is yellow in the block center? (topping)

Child: Here’s a yellow block!

Teacher: Wow! You found a really big yellow block and a small yellow truck. How many yellow toys do you have now? (jimmies)

Child: Two!

Teacher: You are right! You have two yellow toys in your hand. If we add the blue truck to your hand, now you have three toys. What are you going to do with all the toys you found? (whipped cream)

Child: I’m gonna race the trucks!

Teacher: Oh! I would love to watch the trucks race each other! I wonder if the yellow truck or the blue truck will win! Who do you think will win? (wait for child’s response) I saw car races on the TV yesterday and the yellow car won. I am predicting that the yellow truck will win this race too! (cherry)

I encourage you to engage with children using the banana split analogy. These conversations can be done with all ages (even non-verbal children) and in a variety of settings! Remember, the more layers you put on the sweeter the children’s learning will be!

Tags : back & forth exchangescommunicationconversationsinteractionspowerful interactionsstaff/child interactionsteacher/child interactions

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