• By Success For All
  • Posted on Friday 04th March, 2016

Poor Communication and Language Skills- putting it right in Early Years!

A recent article in the Telegraph highlighted some alarming statistics confirming that children are entering school with poor, and diminishing language skills.

  •         75% of Primary teachers report Reception children are unable to speak in full sentences

  •          65% of children are unable to follow simple commands

  •        Only 15% of teachers felt that the government current level of support is adequate

The rise in technology has resulted in families spending more time glued to screens at the expense of helping children to develop basic communication skills. It’s an issue particularly afflicting our most vulnerable children. 

Gareth Jenkins, the director of UK Poverty at Save the Children, was quoted as saying that:  the poorest children fall the furthest behind in communication, with 1 in 3 children on free school meals reaching age 5 without good language skills." So this is an urgent issue if we are to enable all children to succeed at school.

Good communication and language skills are essential before children can learn to read or write. Unless this gap is closed in Nursery and Reception children will be doomed to start year 1 so far behind that they may never catch up. Clearly something needs to be done urgently. The Telegraph called on the Government to invest more in EYFS, but with current drastic spending cuts is this a realistic expectation and is more money really the answer? Surely the key must be more effective teaching and learning?

Developing communication and language skills is a very clear focus in SFA’s Nursery and Reception programmes (Curiosity Corner and KinderCorner). The co-operative learning approach involves the consistent use of talk partners and strategies to scaffold children in speaking in complete sentences. The programmes are explicitly designed to develop vocabulary.  Many teachers are initially sceptical that such young children will be able to respond to a structured approach with such high expectations. In fact, children enjoy a clear, consistent approach that enables them to access interesting and challenging concepts. As a result they make quick progress.

Developing good language skills has many knock on effects that impact on overall achievement. Children’s knowledge base increases, enabling increasingly advanced comprehension which is obviously important for reading. Their knowledge of grammar, sentence structure and ability to speak in sentences also impacts on their ability to communicate both verbally and in writing.

Curiosity Corner and Kinder Corner provide all the planning and resources for the entire EYFS curriculum and are thematically based. They enable schools to have an informed and clear approach to achieving excellent outcomes for children. Although structured, they are based on the needs and interests of the children. Best practice in EYFS doesn’t come more effective or clearer than this! Developed through research and proven by research, it is simply best practice. This consistent effective approach that really works and everybody understands is appreciated by teachers and SLTs alike!

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