Early Communication and Language
Early communication and language is represented in the Early Year’s Foundation Stage by the prime area of communication and language. This area is broken down into a further three areas which are:
- Listening and attention – this covers children’s ability to listen, focus and tune in to the sounds that they hear around them as well as what is being said to them.
- Understanding – this refers to children’s ability to understand and make sense of what they hear, often relating this to what they already know.
- Speaking – children’s ability to express themselves initially through sounds and gestures and then through spoken words and sentences.
At Monkshouse School, we know the importance of this key area in children’s learning and development. We understand that it underpins children’s learning in all areas, such as – future reading and writing skills, the ability to form friendships and develop social skills, emotional and behavioural control, increased confidence and self-esteem and can also reduce the risk of later low attainment.
This understanding has led us to make sure this area is a priority focus, within both the Nursery and Reception classes. We ensure that children have lots of opportunities to develop their language and communication skills, some examples include - circle times, whole class inputs, listening games, small group work, stories and singing, social times at snack and lunchtime as well as joining children in their play to support their learning. Additionally, this is supported by regular phonics sessions using the Letters and Sounds programme, beginning with phase 1 in Nursery and progressing onto phase 2 and beyond in Reception.
This year, the way we have structured our school days, has allowed for a greater balance of adult led learning and interactions and those which are child led. Staff regularly join children in their chosen activity, which often leads to deep and meaningful learning and interactions. It also provides the opportunity to work with children on their individual next steps through their interests. Examples of supporting learning in this way can be as simple as, extending vocabulary through offering an alternative word for big, such as tall, when a child is talking about something they have built - to supporting children’s phonetic ability to write words on a picture they have made.
We have also developed our continuous provision, by introducing the use of message centres in our setting, which provide children with a wide range of resources to select and use in their independent learning. Alongside this, we use messaging to give children purpose and interest in reading and writing through writing and hiding messages for each other to find and also imaginary characters and creatures. This approach has proved very popular and caused great excitement and engagement.
Because we are passionate about supporting language and communication at Monkshouse School, all early years’ staff are currently undertaking further language and communication training run by Elklan to become an Elklan Communication Friendly Setting in the near future.