Educators-peer group communication in Italian nurseries Marinella Majoranoa∗, Ada Cigalab, Sara Venturellib and Paola Corsanob aDepartment of Philosophy, Education and Psychology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy; bDepartment of Psychology, University of Parma, Parma, Italy (Received 12 October 2011; final version received 15 December 2011) The aim of the present study was to assess educator–child communication and child language development in Italian nurseries. Educator communicative functions and child language abilities were considered during free play in Italian nurseries. One hundred and sixty-eight preschool children (83 males and 85 females) and nine educators from nine Italian nurseries participated in the study. Small groups of children with one of their educators were directly observed during 20 minutes of free play. The Italian version of the Speech and Language Assessment Scale (SLAS) was completed by each educator in order to assess each child’s language development. Data analysis indicated differences according to age in the SLAS scores. Moreover, age and gender differences in pragmatic abilities and in the educators’ communication emerged. A relation between educators’ communicative function and child language development was reported. In particular, the educators’ tutorial and conversational functions appeared to be related to more advanced language production. Keywords: educators’ communicative functions; children’s language development; SLAS; Italian nurseries; children’s pragmatic abilities
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