Explain what is meant by ‘a language rich environment’

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.5: Develop emergent literacy skills of children
Learning outcome: Understand the characteristics of a language rich environment
Assessment criteria: Explain what is meant by ‘a language rich environment’

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A language-rich environment in Early Years settings refers to the creation of an environment that supports children’s verbal and non-verbal communication, language development and literacy skills. It is achieved by providing varied experiences for children through talk and conversation, play, stories and activities.

An effective language-rich environment should consist of a variety of stimulating resources like books, posters, puppets or mark-making tools and fun activities such as singing songs with actions, making up stories together, or imaginative play. It should also include adults who model good language use by talking to the children about their thoughts and interests as well as modelling correct pronunciation when reading stories out loud.

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For older children, a language-rich environment also encourages social interaction between peers by setting up opportunities for dialogue among different age groups and having positive conversations between adults and children throughout the day. This helps to create an atmosphere where expressing feelings, opinions and ideas is valued.

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