Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.10: Develop the speech, language and communication of children
Learning outcome: Understand theory and current frameworks which underpin children’s speech, language and communication development.
Assessment criteria: Analyse how theoretical perspectives relating to speech, language and communication development inform current frameworks
Understanding the different theoretical perspectives relating to speech, language and communication development is important in informing current frameworks such as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This blog post will explore how these theories have shaped our current understanding of child development, and provide insight into how they inform current guidelines for early years practitioners.
Theoretical Perspectives on Child Development
In order for us to understand how theoretical perspectives on speech, language and communication development inform current frameworks, it is first important to discuss the various theories that are used to explain these phenomena. The most widely accepted theories include Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory, Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory and Chomsky’s nativist theory.
Vygotsky’s social constructivism places emphasis on how children learn through interactions with adults and other peers. According to this theory, a child can only develop meaningful language when they are immersed in a supportive environment where adults model appropriate behavior while providing guidance and encouragement. Furthermore, this theory recognizes that it is essential for adults to provide support, scaffolding and structure in order for children to reach their full potential.
Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory posits that children actively construct new knowledge through their experiences as they interact with the environment. This theory proposes that children go through four stages of cognitive development— namely sensorimotor, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage and formal operational stage—and suggests that each stage has its own unique characteristics which must be taken into account when considering a child’s overall cognition level.
Chomsky’s nativist theory suggests that humans possess an innate capacity for language acquisition and argues that children are born with certain genetic traits which enable them to acquire language quickly and easily. According to this view, environmental factors play only a minor role in language acquisition since much of it is determined by an individual’s innate abilities.
Informing Current Frameworks
All of these theories contribute towards our current understanding of speech, language and communication development by providing us with insight into how children learn best. For example, the EYFS framework provides clear guidance on how practitioners should support young learners by incorporating elements from each of these theories into their practice. Specifically, practitioners should create environments where children feel safe enough to take risks while experimenting with new ideas; they should use scaffolding techniques to guide children towards reaching their full potential; they should recognize that all children are unique individuals who may respond differently depending on their particular circumstances; finally they should also be aware of the importance of providing appropriate opportunities for meaningful interactions so that young learners can develop socially as well as academically (Department for Education 2020).
In conclusion this blog post has explored how theoretical perspectives relating to speech, language and communication development have shaped our current understanding of child development by looking at three main theories – Vygotsky’s social constructivism; Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory; Chomsky’s nativist perspective – before considering how these ideas inform contemporary frameworks such as the EYFS framework which provides guidance for practitioners working with young learners. It is clear from this analysis that understanding the different theoretical perspectives relating to speech, language and communication is essential in ensuring we provide young learners with the best possible learning opportunities throughout their educational journey.