Early Language Development
We understand that becoming a fluent, skilled and attentive reader starts at the earliest stages, before children encounter reading books. Opportunities to develop communication and language have been planned across the curriculum and the children are exposed to a language rich environment. Our curriculum prioritises dedicated, daily story time which encompasses fiction, non-fiction, rhymes and songs which are carefully chosen to mirror cohorts. Children’s vocabulary is developed through regular, planned back and forth interactions with expert practitioners where:
• thinking aloud is modelled
• children’s words are rephrased and extended
• accurate models of grammar are provided
• vocabulary is extended and new words are explained
• children are supported to articulate ideas in well-formed sentences.
Due to the importance of early language development we identify during the first six weeks, those children who require additional support based on Big talk sessions, either whole class or in small groups. Also, the National baseline and school’s own baseline assessment gives us a clear insight into children’s language development. Where the baselines or Big Talk sessions flag up any delay in communication language and literacy we then use NELI (Nuffield Early language Intervention), which is delivered for 20 weeks by trained staff.
Milestones in communication and language have been planned into the Early Years curriculum. These early learning goals have been broken down into smaller steps and are used to ensure children are on track, and to put support in place where necessary.
Across the school, calm, purposeful learning environments are created to ensure children can clearly hear what the teacher and other children are saying ensuring children have the best chance to interact and make progress in both reading and writing. Children are taught how to actively listen to adults and their peers. Listening is modelled to them and the expectations are regularly reinforced. Children are then given time to practise the skills of listening and talking with a partner. A no hands up culture is encouraged, which enhances a speaking and listening based community.