1. Understand the importance of speech, language and communication for children’s overall development.
1.1 Explain each of the terms: Speech, language, communication, speech and language and communication needs.
Speech: Is a physical production of sound using our tongue, lips palate and jaw to create words to be able to speak in a clear voice and that makes a conversation interesting and meaningful for others to listen to.
Language: Is the ability to join words together to construct sentences. When looking at language we need to include symbols, gestures and motions that we all use as for some deaf people this is the only form of language they have to communicate. Language enables us to communicate and convey meanings to other people. It enables us to understand what people are trying to say to us.
Communication: Is the exchange of messages or meaning. There are several ways in which we communicate and they involve all our senses for example spoken, pictures, sounds, symbols and written. We also need to include body language and facial expressions. Being able to listen to the person that is speaking and know how to take turns in listening and talking. Communication involves: sending, receiving, interpreting and understanding information
Speech, language and communication needs: This is when someone has difficulty with speech, language or communication in any one area or a combination of all three areas. For example a child may not be able to form speech sounds or speak in a clear way to be understood. To be able to put words together to form an understandable sentence. To understand what others commutate to you and to be able to hold a conversation with others
1.2 Explain how speech, language and communication skills support each of the following areas in children’s development:
Learning: For children to be able to be taught they first need to understand and be able to use language. To be able to play and problem solve we need language. It enables children to progress and work out what is going on in their environment. Learning can also start from a very young age where we communicate by gestures and the tone in our voice can indicate good and negative behaviours.
Emotional: Being able to communicate our needs we need to have good communication skills. As babies and toddlers start to grow they find it hard to convey what their needs are resulting in tantrums, by helping very young children to express their feelings and emotions will have a positive effect on their emotional well-being. Gestures and pointing at this age is a well-used means of communication and we must be able to recognise and look for signs and signals of what a child is trying to communicate
Behaviour: Toddlers are very impulsive and need set boundaries to help them understand right from wrong. As children’s language develops so does their ability to understand that there are consequences for their actions. Children look to the adults to be their role models so we need to lead by example on how to communicate and treat one another. The way we use gestures, the tone in our voices and the language we use will all have an impact on a child and how we help them develop.
Social: As children start to be able to label their own emotions. They are then more able to start to recognise emotions in other people. For children to be able to play alongside other peers they will need to understand how the other child is feeling from their facial expressions and body language. Language skills become very important as the child grows to talk to peers and adults and have the ability to make friends.
1.3 Describe the potential impact of speech, language and communication difficulties on the overall development of a child, both currently and in the longer term. Speech, language and communication needs in children will vary from child to child including its nature and severity of the individual difficulty. Early intervention is vital for all children with speech language and communication difficulties because it can have a profound effect on the individual’s life.
Short term effects can include: A child may have fewer words than expected for the child’s age, difficult for others to understand the individual, behavioural issues, the child may become withdrawn, find it difficult to interact with peers which could lead to them finding it hard to make friends also leading to anger, frustration and low levels of confidence. Long term affects could be: The individual may find it hard to maintain relationships, have lower self-esteem into adult life, not achieve their full potential within their education, become isolated, anti-social behaviour, be involved in crime, lack of motivation, self-confidence and willingness to participate in the future, poor employment prospects and mental health issues.
2.1 Explain the ways in which adults can effectively support and extend the speech, language and communication development of children during the early years. Adapting own language – it’s important to adapt your language according to the child’s needs and abilities, some children who have English as a second language may require you to point to objects and letting them see your face. When speaking to a baby or toddler you would simplify you sentences for them to understand where as the older the child gets the more complex sentences can begin to be used. For example to a 1 year old you may hold out a biscuit and say the word where as an older child you would say “would you like a biscuit.” Scaffolding the child’s language – by repeating key words and whole sentences allows a child to begin to build up putting them all together. You could also do this through songs and actions for example “Twinkle twinkle little star” if sung on a regular basis the child will begin to sing along and do the actions.
When holding a conversation with a child and they only use a few words you could help them extend their language by using their words and adding some more words on. Giving children the time and opportunity to communicate – it’s important to give children time to process what has been said to them and if they don’t answer straight away don’t answer for them, allow them time to respond. Some children will require you to sound words out for them but then you must get them to copy you and blend the sounds together whilst giving them time to process what you are telling them. Facilitating communication between children and each other – in my setting we have registration twice a day for the toddlers and the pre-schoolers this allows the children to communicate between each other and learn how to take turns whilst in small groups, it also provides an activity that has proven to be a husge success through repetition, children now understand and recognise their name, shapes, colours, months of the years, day and date. The children learn to take turns in walking up and retrieving their name from the board and all get turns in naming the colour, shape etc …..
Learn through play – in my setting we try to use interesting materials to keep the children interested for example sometimes we put food colouring or shaving foam into the water trays to make it fun and different and it gets the children talking we use different sized containers for the children to pour water from and encourage language such as full, empty or half full. Children can learn a lot through play and we change our display areas in each room to whatever the theme is in class for them to build up their language and communication skills. This months topic is “Space” so there are lots of discussions, props and artwork on display to prompt the children on a daily basis and promote communication.
Children will often come to me eager to show me “The Moon” or “A Star”. Working with carers- We have communication with parents and carers on a daily basis regarding their child’s progress, what they have achieved in their day and any “Wow” moments or equally concerns that we may have. We have a monthly newsletter which goes out to parents keeping them informed of up and coming events, topics and trips etc. Parents and carers are given an open door approach to Church Street Day Nursery and always invited to talk to us about their child’s development.
2.2 Explain the relevant positive effects of adult support for the children and their careers.
Positive effects may include improvements in:
Speech, language and communication skills
Within our setting we had a child (X) who is two and had very little speech. She had been referred for speech therapy and we were working alongside them to increase her communication skills with activities they guided us with. The keyworker also followed the child’s interest in prams and shopping trollies to help bring on her speech which worked amazingly for her and we are now seeing a little girl that is known as “Little miss chatter box” in her class ! Amazing work all lead through communication between Nursery, Parents and Professionals.
There is a little boy that attends our setting who’s Mum says he has good communication skills at home but he chooses not to speak at pre-school. (English is his second language) After observing him we see that he really wants to join in with his peers but doesn’t have the skills to do so which leads to him being withdrawn from his peers. For example he watched the children play with the cars and stood there on the outside of the game. I asked him if he wanted to join his friends in the game and he nodded. I said shall we ask together if you can join in and he nodded and I knelt down beside him and asked the question for him, his friends said yes he could play. In the next few sessions you could see him going up to friends and starting to join in and using his words to interact with his peers. This is very rewarding when you offer support to those with communication barriers and see them growing in confidence over their time with you.
One of our children who had a limited speech would become frustrated and cry. He would use crying as a form of communication instead of his words. He would want everything done for him and when it was not he would cry and become angry and frustrated. By showing him and giving him the tools and confidence that he was a big boy and that he could for example putting on his shoes, zipping up his coat, helping himself to a cup of water all helped improve his behaviour and would happily come and show us that he had put on his shoes, coat etc and this also impacted on his speech. Praise was vital in this situation which gave him the confidence to want to carry on showing us that he could do things for himself.
We often do activities that talk about our own emotions and by using emotions boards and cushions, we ask the children to describe how that person may be feeling. This helps the children to use words to help control their own emotion. Giving the children the skills to be able to label are own emotion it enables them to read other peoples facial expression and body language. A child will soon learn when an adult is happy or sad with them to further encourage positive behaviour.
2.3 Explain how levels of speech and language development vary between children entering early years provision and need to be taken into account during settling in and planning. Every child is an individual and will develop at a different rate towards being a good communicator. When children and their families come to our setting their speech language and commutation skills will all be at different stages of development. Some of the children will have very good communication and language skills and be able to speak fluently while other children may have some difficulty or even delay. Other children may start out with limited language. Some families’ first language may not be English.
When parents pick our setting for their child to attend, we do a few settling in sessions. This is where the parents come in with their little one for a play they get to meet their key person and it is great time for the key person to meet Mum and Dad. It also helps to find out first-hand what their child’s likes and dislikes are and what their child likes to be called for example an Olivia may want to be called Liv, also to find out the best way to settle them for example through cuddles or just by going to get their comforter for them. It gives you the option to ask how the parents communicate with their child for example signing, is English there first language if not is there some key phrases the parents could teach the key person to help their child. Sometimes parents can give you glues to their child’s behaviour and give you examples such as pointing to their bottom this means they need changing or they need to be brought to the bathroom. Our setting has an open door policy so parents and carers can stay as long as they need and if they like drop in near the end of the session etc just to see how their child is doing and how there are responding to the key person.
Planning is done by observing the child and following the child’s interest but we also need to tailor the activity to them and consider what communication and language skills they have and will they be able to carry out the activity or do I need to have pictures for the child to point to instead of them using their words. This way I can see their understanding and we can build on their speech at the same time. We also need to remember the size of the group if the group is to big this will mean some children will struggle to pay attention and listen to what is being said and understand what is required from them. If it is too noisy is the child being distracted by the other children or staff? The key is to take every single child as an individual, have good communication with their parent and carer and learn their interests and likes as soon as possible.
3.4 Evaluate the effectiveness of speech, language and communication support for children in own setting. We are very lucky at Church Street to have a great team who are very highly qualified and have years of experience in working with children. We are able to offer great support to all are children with speech, language and communication skills and those children who need extra support. We have many different children all of which have their own individual needs and we have different strategies for each. Some of the children have one to one support along with support from outside agencies for example speech therapist. We have great support from outside agencies who are very happy to listen to any concerns about our key children and between us come up with activity to help support that individual child.
Throughout are daily routine we use Makaton and try and be good role models to the children on how to commutate to each other and be good listeners. Giving the children time to talk without rushing them being there for them to talk to about their own interest. We are a fairly new Nursery and are taking on Children on a fairly regular basis so make sure we carry out activities such as “Circle Time” on a daily basis to allow all of our children to actively talk about whatever might be on their mind, this activity is very important when looking at our new starters to offer that ice breaker of talking with their peers and key person.
4.1 Explain the importance of the environment in supporting speech, language and communication development. We need to be flexible when developing communication friendly spaces, these spaces should be made available to children inside and outside. We should try and make it with a child’s perspective in mind. We need to try to reduce noise and distractions to a minimum otherwise the children cannot concentrate, so a great deal of thought has to be put in before you place a book area, some settings place net curtain around this area for the sounds to be kept to a minimum. The area should have sunlight for you to maximise the use of light and enable young babies or toddlers to see your face and how we use facial expressions this is particularly important if you have a child with an hearing impairment, at my setting the book area is placed in a corner with windows reflecting good direct sunlight into the area. We make it cosy with cushions etc to snuggle down.
You need to consider the impact of the colour to reflect on a child’s emotions, nothing to dark, a nice bright and inviting colour is ideal ….. Yellows, pinks etc ……A communicating area should not be over stimulating or cluttered. We have a designated library / sensory room where we incorporate low level lighting, twinkly lights and books for all ages, we place big cushions on the floor , this becomes a soft and cosy area, we place some books around the cushions so that the children realise that they can help themselves. We also have a small cosy reading area in every room allowing the children, whatever their age, to take themselves off to a quiet and cosy area.
This enables the area to be inviting for the children and quite often during the day an adult is supporting this area. In the quite corner looking and reading at books helps children to talk to other children and adults as they might feel safe and secure in a small cosy space. Also it allows staff to have a more one to one time with children. Our rooms are changing all the time based on the children’s needs and interests and this is decided through watching them play, for example, the children in the pre-school room spend a lot of time in the role play corner so we extended this area and its resources to promote and stimulate their senses further. Our environment, inside and out, is constantly being added to and changed which is in turn enhancing our facilities and children’s development.
4.2 Review evidence about the key factors that provide a supportive speech, language and communication environment.
The physical environment
Is the way the setting is laid out and how it looks. The way we control the noise level in our setting is by having quieter areas where children can sit with peers to talk look at books etc. Of course not all children want to have quiet time at the same time but through a structured day schedule our children soon know when they are going for outside play and when we promote quieter play within the rooms. The light quality is important and we are lucky to have windows around all of our play rooms so we have lots of natural day light. Light is so important for us all to see and communicate with each other and for children to be able to see facial expressions, mouth movements and body language. The setting has a lot of space for the children to move freely around both inside and out and we ensure there is a varied of resources and toys for them to have independent access to and we rotate them regularly.
Staff roles and responsibilities and training: Each of the children that attend our setting is allocated a Key person. The key person keeps a learning journey and is able to track their overall development process. By observing and following the child’s interests we gather information for our planning and this helps expand their learning. Training is so important for us to grow and to improve the level of service we offer the children in our care. Some staff within our setting have undergone Makaton training and we use this in our everyday role in communicating with the children. We also try and learn key words from the children’s first language We always try to interact with the children which promotes there communication skills for example using the child’s name to gain there attention and use good eye contact with them ensuring we give them time to talk.
We make sure that we are always at the childs level (not talking down to them). Training has helped me and all staff members with new ideas of how to carry out activities and what resources we have for the children and the layout of the overall setting. By investing in different resources for example books that make sounds and toys that make sounds, it all helps motivate the children to use speech. As a new nursery we are constantly looking to invest in our team and receive regular updates on training courses available to our staff. We believe in training and keeping up-to-date for the sake of our children’s time with us at nursery.
Views of the child
Getting to know each of the children individual and what interests them and what their own ideas are. By following the children’s interest’s this will empower and encourage the children to lead the communication. We do this in many ways for example having a special helper at snack time that helps a staff member to dish out snack they get to give out the cups and plates for that session, this boosts confidence and gives them a sense of achievement. Circle time gives us time to listen to what the children have to say and the children are encouraged to talk about their own interests.
Appropriate involvement of carers
Our setting is always trying to come up with ideas to build on the connection between the setting and home. We have communication books which go home with the children on a daily basis and we try and encourage the parents to read and share the books with their children and if they want to share what they have been doing their wow moments and what has happened at home. They can also express any concerns about their little one in the communication book. We invite parents just to come in and see what their child is doing in the setting and look through their learning journeys. We also have regular parents evenings or they can make appointment to see their child’s key person, we also send home newsletters which say what we have been up to in sessions and upcoming events.