Show and Tell - The Importance of Being Important

Helpful Hints to be in Control of Show and Tell

As teachers we are always amused by the honesty of children. The beautiful 3 year old who will announce to the group very personal information about their family. We mostly keep this to ourselves and encourage ways of more appropriate use and timing of language. This can be achieved with well planned “Show and Tell”.

Show and Tell. The Importance of Being Important

Show and Tell should not be a lost opportunity in your programing as it has very positive outcomes for both educators and children. For the educator it will allow you to gain knowledge of each child’s development and the beginning process of understanding their learning style. This is invaluable to plan for children as individuals and as a group.   Love or hate ‘show and tell’ you will have to admit it has a place for teaching children many different skills.

As children grow through social contact with others they are developing skills in communication; sensory awareness; social belonging; emotional growth; and literacy learning. You need to keep control of show and tell. It can get out of hand if you haven’t put in place a few ground rules or have a plan in place for the developmental growth you are desiring for the students. Do not expect a child to get up in front of the group and start talking.

The following helpful hints will enable you to be in control of ‘show and tell’.

  • Be a role model. Have your own item you wish to talk about. Make your ‘tell’ short and to the point.
  • Have a roster. Two or three children at a time is enough. Don’t leave anyone out!
  • Ask questions. “Why is this special to you?” “How does it work?” “Where did you get it?” Children usually need prompting to keep on the topic or to get started. Cut questions to no more than 5. These may all come from you but some may come from the other children. Expression and praise. Always look and act interested in what a child has to say. Praise their talk and its content. Thank them for bring their item.
  • You may like to have a theme. Your ‘show and tell’ may revolve around animals, plants or if you are doing certain activities in your education space. This reduces the number of toys being brought to the group for Show and Tell.
  • Enlist parents help by making them aware of what your aims are for ‘show and tell’. Ask parents to explain what Show and Tell is and help their child select what they will bring. Assist them to think of a reason why they want to share and what questions they may be asked about the item. This gives the child some idea as what to expect.
  • Make it basic and fun, not intense or frightening. Assure them that the teacher will help them.

Positives of “Show and Tell”

Building self-confidence and enhancing self-esteem is one of the main reasons for including Show and Tell in your planning. Some children will be quite confident to stand up and talk in front of others but there will be the children who will need your assistance to participate. If Show and Tell occurs regularly in your program then you will find that children will grow in confidence which will enhance their self esteem.

Show and Tell is a very effective way of enhancing communication skills. Early language experiences play an important role in exposure to the use of oral language, and how it works, to gain positive outcomes for themselves. These experiences also play an important roll in the emotional and social development of children and make up a part of the solid foundation for literacy learning.

Show and Tell encourages independence in a supportive environment. If children are supported in experiences where they are the main focus they will grow more independent to try these skills in other situations.

Show and Tell encourages emotional development and spontaneous thought. It enhances patience, turn taking, using body language and intonation of voice. Problem solving is used for spontaneous thought and selecting what responses are appropriate. It also encourages descriptive language and encourages visual processing skills to gain a greater ability to describe what children see.

Show and Tell, if well planned, can be a valuable tool for social, emotional and literacy learning. It also allows for teachers to assess a wide range of developmental skills in children and plan appropriately.

Join our Monthly Newsletter and Receive our Updates plus Early-Bird Notification of our Special Offers and Free Resources

* indicates required

Heather Collins

Heather Collins is an Early Childhood and Special Education Teacher who makes developmentally appropriate resources for teachers and parents to use with their children. She is author and co-author of poetry books and children’s books. She is a passionate collagist and has crafted beautiful finger puppets and story aprons suitable for early childhood education.

Her resources can be purchased on this website or she can be contacted at Create-Ed by emailing You can order an original apron for any favourite storybook.

Previous article Humour and Laughter in the Learning Environment
Next article Scientific Literacy in Education.

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields