COMMUNICATION & LANGUAGE
At McMillan we aim to give all children the best opportunities for effective development and learning in communication and language. This is a prime area of the curriculum and learning includes listening, attention and understanding and speaking. We aim to support our young children to develop the skills to speak and listen in a variety of situations and for different purposes. Communication is the interaction between people and the sharing and development of ideas and opinions.
Using language involves extending knowledge and develops listening and comprehension skills as well as developing thought processes. At our Centre we provide a rich language environment and acknowledge that language is one of the most important aspects of early years learning.
- Provide opportunities for children to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings and build up relationships with adults and each other.
- Provide real experiences across the curriculum in order to enrich children’s language, such as outings, the changing garden, cooking, making and creating, books and story-telling, rhymes and music & role play.
- Provide opportunities for discussions individually and in small groups.
- Plan opportunities for children to develop their communicative intent by using communicate systems such as Signalong and PECS and as a centre use a total communication approach to support all learners including those who are pre-verbal.
- To enable children with English as an additional language to communicate effectively in their home language and in English.
- To enable children with additional needs to communicate using non-verbal means where appropriate.
- To support children to develop their play-joining skills and emotional literacy.
Language and Communication.
In order to communicate effectively children need to be able to develop the skills for listening, responding appropriately, sharing dialogue and giving appropriate body language. Children need to feel motivated to speak and may do so with adults and each other in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. At our Centre we provide a stimulating environment that motivates shared dialogue with adults and peers. We endeavour to enable all children whatever their individual need, to develop to the full, their ability to use and understand language. Practitioners receive regular training in Signalong from our Signalong tutor and Early Years practitioner, Zoe Fox. Signalong taster sessions or a more in-depth course is also offered to parents who show an interest. Bilingual practitioners are employed to provide additional support to those children who need it. We support children in communicating their feelings to enable them to develop their skills of emotional literacy.
Children with additional needs often find it difficult to communicate; we support their development and understanding of language through programmes including Attention Hillingdon and Speaking & Listening group. We have been involved in the national project ‘Every Child A Talker.’ This national strategy has been developed as a response to a National decline in communication skills. We gather data about children’s communication skills using Early Essence. The Under 3s provision have received training in the WellComm project and are now assessing and recording children’s milestones in language with regard to developmental stages.
We encourage parent participation in their children’s development of language by providing the Learning Bag Library. Parents are able to borrow bags with simple activities to encourage communication in the home.
When we identify a child who may need support with the communications skills we may refer them to the Speech Therapy service or to the Child Development Centre with the permission of the parents. Small Talk sessions are run from the Children’s Centre where a parent is able to access a qualified speech therapist and share their concerns regarding their child’s language development. Practitioners also offer Language For Life courses for parents and children.