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.
Considerations for singing in the early years setting during COVID-19
This guidance contains updated considerations to help you to feel confident to continue to share singing experiences within your setting.
Guidance for Tips of the Month
Guidance for the use of monthly speech, language and communication development top tips for practitioners.
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.
Five Golden Rules for Communication
Poster/factsheet outlining the five golden rules to support children’s early communication and language development for use by practitioners and parents.
Communication and Language Development Monitoring Tool – Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions to support you in using the monitoring tool and when to use other interventions such as WellComm Toolkit.
Top 10 toys for the development of communication skills from ICAN
A list of some toys and games that can be particularly helpful for supporting the development of communication skills.
Speech and Language Therapy Referral – Additional Guidance
Additional information to support referrals to Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy which must be submitted via the Early Help Assessment and Action Plan Form.
Communication Champion – Useful Websites Factsheet
A list of useful websites for Communication Champions which provide information, advice and resources to support children’s communication and language development.
Communication Champion Briefing – June 2020
The presentation slides from the recent Communication Champion Briefing held online are available on the link above. We look forward to seeing you at the next event.
Communication Trust – top tips for talking
Top talking tips for parents and their children.
Early Years Communication – Blank Language
Blank language for learning model and story telling.
Blank level questions
Blank level questions using a variety of books.
Informational factsheet about how children learn sounds.
Cracking the code
A poster displaying speech, language and communication needs and the SEND Code of Practice.
Communication & Language Development Resource Cards - Bolton Start Well - Conference 2020
Top Tips resource cards - Bolton Start Well - conference February 2020.
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
EAL Project Case Study – Alexandra Nursery School
Engaging parents of children learning English as an Additional Language
EAL Project Case Study – Gaskells Private Day Nursery
Our professional development using English as an Additional Language technology
EAL Project Case Study – Pikes Lane Primary School
Phonics resources for children learning English as an Additional Language
EAL Project Case Study – Red Lane Primary School
Using English as an Additional Language technology to support transition
Good practice for working with children learning English as an Additional Language
Good practice ideas generated at the Communication Champion Briefing held in May 2017
Working with children who have English as an Additional Language Handout
Factsheet to support practitioners working with children who have English as an Additional Language
English as an Additional Language – Setting Audit Tool
Reflective audit tool to support settings in reviewing their approach and support for children who have English as an Additional Language
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.
The Home Learning Literacy Project
Children like to help parents with jobs around the house, this helps to promote their independence and supports their learning and development. Involving them in simple tasks can support their language and communication, physical skills and their personal, social and emotional development.
Week 1 - Helping around the house
This week's activities will help a child/ren to feel valued and give them a sense of pride. The activities will help them to be more actively involved with day to day jobs around the home. By involving them in daily routines/activities, it will help to develop their self-confidence and self- awareness and most importantly their life skills.
Week 2 - Music and tidy up
Music interweaves through all areas of learning and development. Music can be a way of exploring, communicating and responding to experience. Making music with others in the home can be a social experience, whether this be parent-baby exchanging coos, or two or more children making music with pots, pans or traditional instruments (if available).
This interaction with others, whether this be one other person or a group of children within your household, is personal to each individual and is often an expression of feelings. Sing your child’s favourite song or rhymes and carry out the actions. Use music at tidy up time to support children to put away their toys before the music stops.
Week 3 - Sharing a book
Whether your child has a favourite book they want to read over and over (and over) again, or you just want to keep them interested in a new book. Research indicates that reading to and sharing books with babies/young children helps emotional bonding and promotes strong and loving relationships and secure attachment. These bonds are key to developing the building blocks for positive emotional health and wellbeing in later life.
Children will benefit immensely if you read aloud with them, even once they have started to read themselves. They will learn new words that are beyond their reading ability and will love the time you spend with them. Children learn best when adults are responsive to them – let the child lead and talk about whatever interests them. So by reading to your children, you’ll not only promote their language development, but also nurture an early love of books and reading – an interest that will serve them well for years to come.
Week 4 - Pretend Play and Picnics
When children use their imagination, it allows them to express themselves verbally and physically. Pretend play and dressing up has a positive impact on children’s confidence and self-esteem by allowing them to act out different scenarios in a safe environment. They are also experimenting with decision making and practising social skills.
Encouraging your child to dress up and engage with pretend play helps them to unwind and become whoever they want to be. You could join in and become superhero’s together? This is an opportunity to have fun.
Week 5 - Den Making and Cosy Areas
This week we are focussing on making dens and cosy areas with your child. It is widely recognised that the environment that a child or young person is in can make a big difference to their communication – whether it’s always noisy and chaotic or if there are quiet times and spaces to talk.
Children love making their own dens/cosy areas under tables, behind the couch or out in the garden under the washing line. Providing child/ren with the materials they need, such as large sheets/blankets or saris, clothes pegs and a few cushions to make their own den/cosy area, promotes their independence.
Setting up a cosy area for your children helps them to have their own space where they feel safe and secure. This also gives them a quiet area which enables you to interact with your child without all the disruptions of television/radio/mobile phones. It provides them with a quiet space where they can read a book or play with their favourite toys. This will provide opportunities for everyone to talk, listen and take part.
Week 6 - Creative play
Creative play has an important role in childhood, building perseverance, confidence, understanding and imagination. Children love the chance to explore and experiment with different creative materials such as paints, colouring pens and crayons and a variety of different objects. With enough paper and paint, a painting activity can keep even a two-year-old busy for a long time.
This is a serious process, art - the end product may be beautiful, but it’s all about the fun of new textures, messy hands, and discovery! Don’t worry if you have no paint available, you could use other products, try mixing some flour and water with some food colouring and allow your child to explore the texture, mark making with their fingers. Look round the house to see what other materials you have available, marker pens/crayons or pencils. You could create a collage with the finished artwork.
Creative play is a great way for your children to discuss their creative work and learn vocabulary to articulate experience. Children often think aloud while creating their products, providing you the opportunity to observe their thought processes.
Sharing language in daily routines
Over the next two weeks, we are going to focus on sharing language in daily routines.
Week 1 - Words and phrases
It’s important to share language with babies and children during your daily routines. Talking about what you and your child are doing will help them to understand and use new words. When the words match what is happening, they are much easier to learn! It’s never too soon to start doing this.
Over the next two weeks, we will be giving you some ideas of what to say in different daily activities, whatever stage of language development your child is at. This week, we will be looking at what kinds of words or phrases to use at bathtime, at bedtime and at teatime.
It’s a real advantage to speak more than one language and your child will really benefit from being bilingual. Continue using your home language during your daily routines and this will help all of their language learning.
Week 2 - Words and phrases
It’s important to share language with babies and children during your daily routines. Talking about what you and your child are doing will help them to understand and use new words – when the words match what is happening they are much easier to learn! It’s never too soon to start doing this.
We will be giving you some ideas of what to say in different daily activities, whatever stage of language development your child is at. This week, we will be looking at what kinds of words or phrases to use when changing a nappy, or when playing in the sun and in the garden.
It’s a real advantage to speak more than one language and your child will really benefit from being bilingual. Continue using your home language during your daily routines and this will help all their language learning.
Tuning into sound
Tuning into sounds is good for both you and your child, it is a great way to develop your children’s listening and attention skills. Your children’s favourite sound of all is your voice, they love to listen to you talking and singing to them. How about changing your tone of voice or whispering? Tune in and see how your child responds.
Currently we are spending lots more time at home together which can feel overwhelming, so finding things as a positive distraction is good for everyone’s wellbeing.
It's ok to feel anxious, stressed or worried and during this difficult time listening to sounds can be a great way to relax and unwind together.
This week’s theme is around tuning into sounds. It looks at sound hunts, sounds around us and voice sounds.
Over the next two weeks, we are going to look at the activities on the jumping beans programme, which we usually run at our centres.
These activities are designed to provide fun activities for children. From when they begin to walk confidently until approximately 30 months, your child will explore ways to get moving whilst developing their listening skills.
Physical play is critical to all under 5s to help with their growth and development.
It helps children to:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Build social and emotional bonds with parents, siblings and other children.
- Develop posture, strength and balance.
- Develop senses.
- Learn about their bodies and the world around us.
- Keep their bodies and minds active.
Week 1 - Jumping Beans
This week, we start with 'let’s get moving', then moving 'fast and slow', and end the week 'exploring balancing'.
Week 2 - Jumping Beans
Over the week, we start by going 'in and out, up and under', then move onto 'ball skills' then finally 'big moves and little moves'.