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Communication and Language

Communication and Language

Communication and Language Development

Communication and Language development involves giving children 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.

Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future.


Bolton Start Well – Early Years Communication and Language Development Service

Bolton Start Well Service includes a Communication and Language Development Team which is a collaborative venture between Bolton Council, Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. The team includes Speech and Language Therapists and Teachers who work with the early years workforce, parents and professionals to support the development of communication skills in all children including effective early identification of those at risk of speech and language delay.

Bolton Start Well Service provide professional development services for the early years workforce, to train and upskill practitioners to effectively support children’s communication and language development. You can check out the variety of professional development opportunities and training available in the courses section of the website.


Start Well Early Years Communication and Language Development Monitoring Tool

It is essential that all sectors and services are able to identify children at risk of speech and language delay. This requires a strong and systematic approach to assessment that gives accurate and robust data and demonstrates that children’s speech and language development is improving.

Using the communication and language monitoring tool will:

  • The monitoring tool is for use with children aged 2 years plus.
  • The practitioner should observe the child and gather significant evidence, as is normal good practice within the setting.
  • The child’s development should be considered against the 4 aspects within the monitoring tool: Attention and Listening, Understanding Language, Talk and Speech Sounds and Social Skills.
  • When using the tool with children who are learning English as an additional language, then practitioners should seek support from parents and those speaking their home language to assess their language skills in both their home language and English, and additional notes should be added in the comments box.

Please see the frequently asked questions to support you in using the monitoring tool and when to use other interventions e.g. WellComm Toolkit.


Top tips of the month for practitioners
Monthly top tips to update practitioners on key areas of speech, language and communication development

Top tips of the month for parents
Monthly tips which practitioners can share with parents to encourage activities in the home learning environment to promote communication and language development

Songs of the month
A monthly song card to share with children and parents: one song is a traditional song and the other is a new song to teach the children and share with parents

Supporting children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL)
The principles of good practice for children learning English are the principles of good practice for all children. The attached documents share key guidance on supporting children learning English as an additional language and a reflective audit to evaluate how you support this in your settings.

For further information on supporting children learning English as an additional language please find enclosed case studies from the settings which took part in the EAL research project:

  • Alexandra Nursery – Engaging EAL Parents
  • Gaskells Private Day Nursery – Our Professional Development Using EAL Technology
  • Pikes Lane Primary School – Phonics Resources for EAL Children
  • Red Lane Primary School – Using EAL Technology to Support Transition

Supporting Home Learning Environment (use of dummies)
These information sheets help practitioners to share key information with parents to support them in understanding the pros and cons of the use of dummies and how to wean a child off a dummy at home.