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: Be able to lead activities which support the development of speech, language and communication of children
Assessment criteria: Implement an activity which supports the development of speech, language and communication of children aged: 0-1 year 11 months, 2-2 years 11 months, 3-5 years
Implementing activities that support the development of speech, language, and communication for different age groups in early years requires tailored strategies to engage children appropriately at their developmental stage. Here’s how an Early Years practitioner might implement activities for each age group:
Ages 0-1 Year 11 Months
- Activity: Interactive Reading and Singing
- Choose Appropriate Materials: Use brightly colored picture books and select simple, repetitive nursery rhymes.
- Engage the Children: Sit where they can see your face and the book. Use expressive facial expressions and gestures.
- Encourage Participation: Pause during reading or singing to encourage cooing or babbling responses. Mimic the sounds the baby makes to create a back-and-forth ‘conversation’.
- Sensory Involvement: Incorporate touch-and-feel books or sound-making toys as part of the activity.
Ages 2-2 Years 11 Months
- Activity: Picture Description and Simple Role-Playing
- Select Diverse Images: Use flashcards or picture books with a variety of familiar scenes and objects.
- Interactive Dialogue: Point to different objects and ask the child to name them. For role-playing, create simple scenarios like a tea party or playing shop, using props.
- Encourage Storytelling: Ask open-ended questions about the pictures (“What is the dog doing?”) to stimulate language and thought.
- Positive Reinforcement: Acknowledge their responses and efforts, even if the words are not clear, to encourage further attempts at speaking.
Ages 3-5 Years
- Activity: Story Creation and Group Discussions
- Storytelling Sessions: Encourage children to create their own stories using prompts, pictures, or a series of events. Provide materials for them to draw or act out their stories.
- Group Discussions: Arrange a circle time where each child gets a turn to speak about a chosen topic. Use a ‘talking object’ that the child holds when it’s their turn to speak.
- Vocabulary Building: Introduce a ‘word of the day’ and encourage children to use it in sentences or identify it in stories.
- Dramatic Play: Set up themed areas (like a grocery store, hospital, etc.) and engage children in role-playing, encouraging dialogue and interaction.
General Strategies for All Ages
- Creating a Supportive Environment: Ensure the environment is conducive to communication, free from too much noise and distractions.
- Active Listening: Show that you are listening attentively by making eye contact, nodding, and responding to what the child says.
- Modeling Language: Use clear, age-appropriate language and full sentences to model good speech.
- Encouragement and Praise: Offer lots of praise and positive reinforcement to boost the children’s confidence in their language abilities.
In implementing these activities, the practitioner needs to be flexible, patient, and observant, adapting the activities to the individual needs and responses of the children. The key is to create engaging, fun, and meaningful experiences that naturally encourage children to use and develop their speech, language, and communication skills.