In the Foundation Stage, through adult-led and child-initiated play, we aim to inspire children to be critical thinkers, to be creative, to work collaboratively and to develop resilience in order to develop fundamental knowledge and skills required for independent life-long learning.
Research tells us that play is essential to a child’s cognitive, imaginative, creative, emotional and social development. Children develop very quickly during the early years. They change rapidly intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially, and they need provision that helps them to overcome any disadvantage and which extends their knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence.
So what role does communication and language play?
Communication is fundamental to being able to assess a child’s understanding of most areas of the curriculum. Communication is also a vital part of life as being able to effectively communicate messages and ideas are part of building relationships and developing professionally. It is therefore vital that as parents and teachers, we are constantly helping your child to develop their speaking and listening skills.
How can we do this?
Talk, talk, talk. Narrate the day as it evolves. Tell your child, for instance, "Now we are going to take a bath. Can you feel the warm water on your belly? When we dry off, we will get dressed and take a walk."
Read, read, read. It is never too early to read to your child. One good predictor of future reading success is the amount of time parents spend reading with their child. Parents can start with simple board books and graduate to picture books and longer stories as their child gets older. Story times at the local library or bookstore can also help a child develop a love of books.
Enjoy music together. Young children love music and movement. When they listen to lively songs, like "Old McDonald Had a Farm," they learn about the world around them and the rhythm of language.
Tell stories. Make up elaborate stories with characters, conflict, adventure and a happy ending. Be sure that the stories fit your child's interests and are not too scary for their liking.
Follow your child's lead. If your little one seems interested in a particular picture in a book, keep talking about it. If they seem intrigued by a boat, show them more boats and talk about them, too. Ask questions and interact with them.
Never criticise your child's articulation or speech patterns. Instead, repeat his statements back to them with the correct pronunciation or word usage. Give your child lots of praise for their efforts.
Use television and computers sparingly. It is recommended that children younger than 2 not watch television at all, and that children 2 and older view no more than two hours of quality programming a day. While some educational programmes can be beneficial to kids, TV shows do not interact with or respond to children, which are the two catalysts kids need to learn a language. Computer games are interactive, but they are not responsive to a child's ideas.
Go on trips. A trip to the zoo, the aquarium, or a children's museum will open up a whole new world for your child. As an added bonus, your child will want to learn the names of all those fascinating creatures and fun activities you experienced together.