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Your guide to developing Early Language Skills: Speaking We have worked with the communication charity I CAN to develop this guide.Speaking is often confused with other aspects of communication and language. Speaking is the way that someone communicates their ideas, requests and makes observations orally. It is described in the Early Years Foundation Stage profile as […]



Your guide to developing Early Language Skills: Speaking

We have worked with the communication charity I CAN to develop this guide.Speaking is often confused with other aspects of communication and language. Speaking is the way that someone communicates their ideas, requests and makes observations orally. It is described in the Early Years Foundation Stage profile as ELG 03.

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  Reasons to Talk

When Learning to Communicate, children need someone to talk to and something to talk about.  Having a shared interest helps focus the communication around the item being discussed and allows whoever is involved to know what is being discussed.  It provides opportunities for new vocabulary development and a chance to use existing vocabulary in a shared context.

Kate says…..Take the opportunity to find out about the child that you are working with by listening to what they are saying about the objects in front of them.  Don’t be afraid of silence, often children will communicate more when they have a space to fill than if they are asked direct questions.  Playing alongside them shows that you are interested in what they are doing and ready to hear what they are going to say.

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Places to Talk

The environment that children are in affects what it is they are likely to say and also the mood and emotions created by that environment.  Calm environments are great for sharing books or having close conversations.  Exciting environments provide plenty to talk about in a more animated way.

Kate says…..Being together with a child in a space that they have created or decided to move to shows that you are interested and ready to listen to them.  Make sure that the child is happy with you joining them, by asking ‘Can I sit here too?’  Remember to use comments rather than questions when you are sitting together in a special place.

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Your guide to developing Early Language Skills

We have developed this guide to support you in laying the foundations of good communication skills. Working with I CAN we have been able to put together a series of four guides featuring specialist advice to assist you in Early Language Development.

The series covers the following areas:

View a copy of the Communication and Language Guide here

Meet our specialist Kate Freeman

Kate FreemanKate Freeman has helped us to develop this guide. She is a lead I CAN Communication Advisor, specialising in early year’s speech and language development (from birth to five). Kate is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist with over twenty years’ experience in the field of paediatrics. She carries out training courses for teachers, SENCOs, speech and language therapists and a wealth of other professionals and parents as part of I CAN’s programmes.

Have fun with communication and help support I CAN by holding a sponsored sing-along as part of the Chatterbox Challenge register at

www.chatterboxchallenge.org.uk

 ICAN Chatterbox Challenge


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2 thoughts on “Early Years Communication – Speaking”

  1. Frances says:

    Your advice is to not ask questions of children in order to encourage them to speak, but if the adults are commenting on what we see and the child is not joining in, how do we help them to join in? I have always found that saying something like, “tell me about your picture” gives children the opportunity to talk.

    1. TTS Group says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment.
      During the flow of a conversation there may be appropriate times to use questions, and your question “tell me about your picture” is an example of a great question that may generate a good response from a child as it is open and allows them to talk freely. We try to avoid questions such as “what colour is this, or what is this?” as these often promote a one word answer and can stop the conversation.

      Our advice about commenting is to encourage adults, who in our experience are more familiar with asking questions, to comment more, thus bringing the child into a conversation rather than directing it. We find this keeps a conversation going for longer.

      So if you find that by commenting, and waiting for the child to join in, you are getting no response, a lovely open question like that might support the child to engage with you. I hope this helps to clarify the thinking behind our recommendations.

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