Communication and language development involves giving children the opportunities to: experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations. Therefore there are many things that I as practitioner do/use to enable communication and language on a day to day basis.
In the 2 and 3 year old rooms we have a role play area which gets changed regularly which helps the children to communicate with others for example if it’s a dressing up role play the children can communicate with each other about what roles they would like to play and what game they would like to play. In each room we all have stories allocated to the correct age group for the children therefor the children have access to books throughout the day to which they can individually look at the books or they can sit with practitioners as they listen to the practitioners reading the books.
It helps the child to communicate by asking questions about the book, for the older children, and for the younger child hearing the practitioner speak and repeating certain words. In the bigger rooms we have a computer to which helps the children to use their communication to ask to use the computer and when playing children games on the computer they may shout out what they see on the computer screen.
In my current room, the baby room, we have music playing in the room from a range of children’s programmes therefor the babies can again listen to the music and can begin to pick up words, we also have music playing in the cot room whilst the babies sleep meaning that language and communication is everywhere for the babies to listen and pick up and gives them the opportunity to learn their language skills through music.
In each room we always have display boards which are changed regularly for example we set display boards focusing on seasons or festivals allowing the children to visualise what is going on at that time around the world and the children can use their language skills to ask questions about the board for example “when is it winter? ” or “why do they celebrate that? ”. And all practitioners create activities for the children, whether they are inside, or outside or adult-led or child-led.
The activities can help expand their vocabulary by talking about what they are playing with or what they are feeling with or what they see, they can also communicate with their peers such as when sharing toys, it is helping the child to form relationships and friendships. As a childcare setting, we also work closely with some multi-agency teams to help improve the children’s speech, language and communication development. Multi agency teams work together to improve a child’s development. Initially a health visitor or clinic would identify problems when a child is taken for check ups.
Depending on the action needed the child could be referred to a speech therapist such as SALT. If the child/young person was of school age then the senco (special educational needs coordinator) would be well aware of the problems and put interventions into place, outside agencies will then be informed and a ILP (individual learning plan) drawn up which will consist of activities that will benefit the child’s speech and language. Some children have therapy in school hours which is coordinated between the senco and relevant agencies.
Time out in class will be given for the child who will then learn different techniques on speech, language and communication. An example of this is in my setting the older children (usually aged 3-4) who are ready for school but need to work on their speech; we bring in a speech and language therapist. This SALT is in our nursery in a room with the child (usually one on one with the child’s key person too) and they would work on the child’s speech and phonics. This usually last the whole morning. When meeting children’s additional needs you would work with many of people.
These people are; SENCO, SALT, social services and a portage. SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) would work with the nursery to ensure that their SEN policy is followed correctly. They would work with a child who has special needs to help them with their learning. Speech and language therapy, commonly known as ‘SALT’ would work with the child to help them with their speech development. It would also help the child to communicate with the teachers and vice versa. Social services would be in partnership to help ensure that the child is getting beneficial support at home and in the nursery.
Lastly you have someone who has a partnership with the family and with the nursery and would work closely with the child and aim to work with the child’s developmental needs to help develop their strengths. This is called a portage. A portage service worker would assist with play activities and teach the child a better knowledge of turn taking and imagination, behaviour to progress on the correct behaviours and to point out the bad behaviours and why they are bad, communication, to help the child to communicate with the teachers and others and would help the child to build relationships with the teachers and other peers.
The last example of a support service to help a child’s communication can be to invest in a speech and language therapist to help the child with their communication. A speech and language therapist (SLTs) works closely with babies, children and adults who have various levels of speech, language and communication problems. SLTs assist people of all ages who have the following types of problems; difficulty producing and using speech, difficulty understanding language, difficulty using language, a stammer and a voice problem.
There are also medical issues which can effect speech and language i. e. a stroke, a learning disability, neurological disorders i. e. Parkinson’s disease, cancer of the mouth and throat, head injury, hearing loss or deafness, a cleft palate and language delay, autism, dyslexia and selective mutism. Speech and language therapists work in a range of different settings including hospitals, community health centers, mainstream and special schools, assessment units and day centers and in the client’s home environment.
There are many examples of when an SLT can help i. e. they can help babies with feeding and swallowing. It is very clear to see that as a setting, we provide a lot of equipment, games and resources to help the children and their speech, language and communication skills. Not only within the setting but we also work with other agency workers too to widen their learning and support. I feel that we provide a lot of support for the children on a day-to-day basis.
During any time of the day, we work with the children to help improve this area and by doing this; we provide the correct resources for the children and allowing them to always be available for the children. We had a little boy in the baby room that had global delay therefore his speech, communication and language was affected for this child. When he first joined our nursery his speech and communication was very limited, he could only babble every now and then.
We had done a lot of work with the child i. e music time, story time, we done a lot of song time including sign language which the child picked up. The child is now two and can communicate to adults what is wrong i. e. if he would like more water, and he can say simple words and sign them i. e. he knows ‘waiting’ and the sign for waiting. This proves that our support for the children is very effective from a young age.