Early Years

Communication and Language

Communication and Language

From 1st September 2021, the statutory framework for the EYFS (2021) states that educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as set out under each of the areas of learning.

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.

Communication and Language is a Prime area of learning, based on the central importance of these skills for all learning and development. In the EYFS, Communication and Language development considers three aspects: Listening and Attention; Understanding; and Speaking.

Positive Interactions

Young children communicate with others right from birth; they need to interact with responsive adults and the world around them to ensure healthy brain development. Throughout the early years, adults play an essential role in responding to children’s attempts to communicate and acting as positive role models. 

The most important resource to support children’s developing Communication and Language skills is the adults around them (you and their parents/carers). It is important to develop positive interaction techniques within your staff teams and with parents or carers.

Top 10 Tips for Talking

Vocabulary Development

Research demonstrates that children’s vocabulary development at an early age is linked to their educational success in later life. During both planned adult led activities and those led by children, adults can model new vocabulary, in context, to help children understand and use new words.

Communication Friendly Environments

The Learning Environment (inside and out) can make a big different to the way in which children communicate with adults and their peers. You may find it helpful to review how children are using your space: Which areas are popular and well used; which are left unused? What could you change or move Which areas encourage social interaction? Could you add materials to other areas to encourage children to talk to each other? Are there spaces where children can be quieter?

Top 10 Tips for Creating a Communication Friendly Environment

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