Communication and Language
Throughout our Communication and Language Curriculum sits our image of a child being a Communicator:
Our children are able to express themselves effectively in their own unique way, showing awareness of others.
We also have key principals that have created the framework for our curriculum:
- To develop children’s oral language.
- To enhance and stretch children vocabulary.
- To develop children’s confidence to express their needs and wants through language.
Listening and Attention
- Provide optimum experiences for young children’s language development
- Offer a language rich environment
- Model language through meaningful communication and know how to support and promote effective development
- Children to feel confident to interact with others in different range of situations.
- For children to be able to follow instructions, requests and ideas in a range of contexts.
- Children to confidently respond to and answer questions in response to their thoughts, ideas, predictions, speculation and provocations.
The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2021) states that:
"The development of children's spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children's back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures."
At Fairfield Nursery School we know that language skills begin to develop from a very young age, babies start to babble and coo and make other sounds. Research tells us that very young babies will use these to communicate their needs to their caregiver. As babies get older they listen to the language being used around them, watching faces as people talk and will begin to turn towards peoples voices. By 6 months babies are babbling more and more using different sounds and repeating sounds such as "da da" or "oo oo". When a child reaches 12-18 months most children will have begun to say a few simple words such as "mama" "dada" and understand what they are saying. At this stage language begins to develop quickly. As children rapidly learn new words and repeat words they hear it can be common for them to leave off word endings or beginnings at this stage. When a child reaches 2 years they might begin to string words together creating short phrases such as "Mummy, bye-bye". This then progresses as vocabulary expands rapidly learning and using new words. As children grow in confidence and are surrounded in a language rich environment they will become more confident in using language as a powerful means to express themselves.
Children at the expected level of development will be working within the Early Learning Goals:
- Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary;
- Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate;
- Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.
Listening, Attention and Understanding
At Fairfield we understand that listening skills are very important because they help children learn how to develop language skills.Studies have shown that babies can hear from as early as inside the womb. The more they see and hear, the better it will be for their language development. It is important for us to talk with babies all the time. Good listening allows us to demonstrate that we are paying attention to the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of the other person (seeing the world through their eyes). This is crucial to maintaining productive relationships, and sometimes the only way to establish communication.Talking and listening to children does lots of important things. It improves your bond with them, and encourages them to listen to you. It helps them to form relationships. One of the best things you can do for a child's development is to give them your attention and engagement. Listen and encourage their interests in the world around them and you will be nurturing the experiences and relationships that brain development thrives on.Listening is receiving language through the ears. Listening involves identifying the sounds of speech and processing them into words and sentences. Listening in any language requires focus and attention. It is a skill that some people need to work at harder than others.
Children at the expected level of development will be working within the Early Learning Goals.For Listening, Attention and Understanding they are:
- Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions;
- Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding;
- Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.
Children learn most effectively through being involved in rich experiences and practical activities promoted through play. Adults need to join in this play, both talking with and listening to the children, taking into account their interests and experiences. It is important for children to have a good understanding of different concepts as it assists in their ability to follow instructions and be specific in what they are talking about. In order for a child to use concepts in their spoken language, they first need to have a good understanding about what these concepts are and what they mean. By developing this understanding they are then better able to follow instructions at home and at nursery. Understanding of language develops before expressive language. In order to be able to use language appropriately, a child first needs to be able to understand the specific language area.
We use a program called WELLCOMM that allows us to dive deeper to accurately understand the level of children’s understanding. This is done at the beginning of the year and repeated at the necessary times throughout depending on individual children. Small activities are set up tailored to individuals to further their development and understanding following the program.
We have split the umbrella of understanding into 3 different parts:
- Respond – being able to understand what has been said and respond in some way this may be through an action, a gesture or a verbal communication.
- Follow – to be able to understand what is being said and to follow through with the action for example: While playing with the farm animals there is a cow, pig and a sheep. Ask the child ‘Can you find the cow?’ the child would respond my pointing or giving you the cow showing they fully understood what was being asked and followed through with the task.
- Respond and answer - using where, how and why questions to gain better understanding of an experience and in response to an activity or event they have been part of.