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Posted by Katie oGrady

Providing support for the development of speech and language in the early years setting – Karina Lemare

At Boys & Girls Nursery we understand the links between speech, language and communication with learning, behaviour, social skills and self-esteem and here our Guest blogger Karina, manager of Croxley Green talks about it’s importance.

By following the EYFS we prioritise three main primary areas:

• Physical Development
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Communication and Language

Children find it difficult to move on with others areas of development (including literacy) without a solid foundation in the three areas above which is the reason we prioritise SLCN (speech, language and communication needs).

With 1 in 10 children having SLCN we develop strong partnerships with both parents and staff to support our children’s ‘Learning Journeys’ to ensure this and other developmental information is shared where necessary.

Every child that joins the nursery is given a key person who will support them throughout their time with us. We plan each child’s individual needs to make sure we concentrate on any areas that need development – this may be as simple as giving them the confidence to speak in front of a group, encouraging them to practice new sounds to more dedicated one-on-one for those with a more extreme SLCN. If English is a second language, we will work with parents to pull together a list of common words from the child’s first language to ensure there is some familiarity of words when they are new to the nursery. Welcome boards and notice boards are labelled with all the languages spoken in the nursery to reinforce this.

All of our staff are constantly training and developing to ensure they are aware of how they can support the development of speech, language and communication in all children as well as being able to identify children who may have SLCN. Any child with SCLN will be fully supported by their key person and our SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator). The SENCO will co-ordinate additional support for children with SEN and liaise with their parents and other professionals who are involved with them. Our SENCO has the full support of the nursery manager and other staff to develop effective ways of overcoming barriers to a child’s learning. They will ensure each child receives effective teaching through assessing the child’s needs and setting targets for improvement.

Children with SLCN need lots of support at home as well as nursery – difficulties with developing all aspects of literacy skills, (reading, writing and spelling), in turn could affect all areas of the curriculum when they move on to school. Our Open Door policy gives parents the opportunity to discuss any concerns they have at any time, and encourages them to establish a relationship with their child’s key person.

We have built excellent relationships with our parents and local support agencies who we can turn to for advice as and when we need to support the children we look after – added to the ongoing staff training, we are proud to have built and continue to build an effective environment for all children to develop their skills.

As a team, we work really hard with every individual to ensure they leave us happy and confident and ready for school.