Communication and Language
Communication and language are closely intertwined with physical, social and emotional experiences. Communication and language lay the foundation for all learning and development. At Pinxton Nursery School we ensure that this guides and supports children's thinking and underpins their emerging literacy skills. We intend for our children to develop into effective communicators and language users.
Communication and language is developed through continuous provision inside and outside, adult modelling of language and conversation skills, interaction and direct teaching. We encourage the use of Makaton signs and symbols, and also send home activity booklets per focus book for parents to do at home with their children.
Children develop through key stages, which are split into 3 aspects; Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking.
1. Listening and Attention
By making positive relationships, children respond to eye contact, verbal and non-verbal interaction. They anticipate and initiate communication with others, responding in a variety of ways. Children listen to others, watching and imitating them. They also join in with rhymes, stories and games using sounds and words. They will eventually be able to divide their attention between what is being said and what they are doing.
Understanding what has been said to them, saying things to others, being treated as a communicator and sharing in talk with others is all part of the communication process. In this aspect of communication and language children will show understanding in many ways including by responding appropriately to what somebody has said, following instructions and responding to and asking questions to check out meaning. Their understanding of what is being said to them far outweighs what they can say. Every experience a child has will extend their understanding if adults are there sharing the experience and helping them.
As babies move through their first attempts at communication amazing things happen – they begin to say words and can communicate meaning even though they may not have words for all the things they want to tell us about. The store of words that children build up will help them to be effective and skilful communicators and, with help, and through hearing correct language use toddlers and young children will internalise the rules of grammar – sometimes trying out combinations of words to make short phrases and sentences – like ‘me do that!’ or ‘my going to the park’. In this process they develop ways to express themselves based on their own ideas and experiences.
Our children are competent communicators, who have an excellent grasp of language
Area of Communication and Language
When children enter our Nursery they are able to
When children leave our Nursery they are able to
Listening and Attention
Listens to and enjoys rhythmic patterns in rhymes and stories, trying to join in with actions or vocalisations
Enjoys rhymes and demonstrates listening by trying to join in with actions or vocalisations
Pays attention to own choice of activity, may move quickly from activity to activity
Listens to others in one-to-one or small groups, when conversation interests them
Listens to familiar stories with increasing attention and recall
Joins in with repeated refrains and anticipates key events and phrases in rhymes and stories
Focusing attention – can still listen or do, but can change their own focus of attention
Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused)
Understands different situations - able to follow routine events and activities using nonverbal cues
Selects familiar objects by name and will go and find objects when asked, or identify objects from a group
Understands simple sentences (e.g. Throw the ball)
Understands use of objects (e.g. Which one do we cut with?)
Shows understanding of prepositions such as under, on top, behind by carrying out an action or selecting correct picture
Responds to instructions with more elements, e.g. Give the big ball to me; collect up all the blocks and put them in the box
Beginning to understand why and how questions
Copies familiar expressions, e.g. Oh dear, All gone.
Uses different types of everyday words (nouns, verbs and adjectives, e.g. banana, go, sleep, hot)
Beginning to put two words together (e.g. Want ball, More juice)
Beginning to ask simple questions
Beginning to talk about people and things that are not present
Uses gestures, sometimes with limited talk, e.g. reaches toward toy, saying Want it
Beginning to use more complex sentences to link thoughts (e.g. using and, because)
Able to use language in recalling past experiences
Can retell a simple past event in correct order (e.g. went down slide, hurt finger)
Uses talk to explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next
Questions why things happen and gives explanations. Asks e.g. who, what, when, how
Beginning to use a range of tenses (e.g. play, playing, will play, played)
Continues to make some errors in language (e.g. runned) and will absorb and use language they hear around them in their community and culture
Uses intonation, rhythm and phrasing to make the meaning clear to others
Talks more extensively about things that are of particular importance to them
Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences
Uses talk in pretending that objects stand for something else in play, e.g. This box is my castle
How you can help your child at home:
- Get your child’s attention - Face your child or sit down with them. Say their name before you start speaking. Talk about something you can both see in front of you. This helps them to learn what words mean.
- Have fun together - Use actions, sing, make noises and funny faces. Don’t be shy, being a bit silly helps get their attention and makes them laugh and can encourage language development.
- Comments not questions - Asking lots of questions can feel like it’s a test. Make it a conversation. When you talk to your child comment on what they are doing and what is happening instead.
- Give them time to think - Children need more time than adults to think about what they’ve heard, and to decide what to say back. Give them time to respond, and look at them while you wait.
- Make it easier for them to listen - Turning the music, radio or TV off helps children focus on your words.
- Build on what they say - Adding one or two words to what they say helps your child onto the next stage of talking. So, if your child says “bus” you say “Yes, big bus”.
- Speak in your home language - It’s important for children to learn their first words and sentences in their home language. Your child will learn in English later, at nursery and school.
- Make it easier for them to talk - Dummies can get in the way of talking. Try to keep them just for sleep times. Take it out to talk.
- Show them the right way - Young children often make mistakes. Show them that you understand, rather than asking them to repeat words correctly. Say the word or sentence again correctly for your child. If they say “Look at the dod”, you can say “Yes, it’s a dog”.
- Copy what they say - Repeat back sounds, words and sentences. Whether its “la la” or “Oh, you liked the banana?”, it shows you’re interested and that sounds and words are important. This can help your child's speech development.