Communication and Language
Communication and language in the early years
Communication and language is one of the three prime areas in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and involves giving children opportunities to:
- experience a rich language environment
- develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves
- speak and listen in a range of situations
Each prime area is divided into early learning goals and for communication and language these are as follows.
- Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
- Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer “how” and “why” questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.
- Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about things that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
Children develop skills at different rates, but by 3 years usually children will:
- Listen to and remember simple stories with pictures
- Understand longer instructions, such as 'make teddy jump' or 'where's mummy's coat?'
- Understand simple 'who', 'what' and 'where' questions
- Use up to 300 words
- Put 4 or 5 words together to make short sentences, such as 'want more juice' or ‘he took my ball
- Ask lots of questions. They will want to find out the name of things and learn new words
- Use action words such as ‘run’ and ‘fall’ as well as words for the names of things,
- Start to use simple plurals by adding ‘s’, for example ‘shoes’ or ‘cars’
- Use a wider range of speech sounds. However, many children will shorten longer words, such as saying ‘nana’ instead of ‘banana’. They may also have difficulty where lots of sounds happen together in a word, e.g. they may say ‘pider’ instead of 'spider'
- Often have problems saying more difficult sounds like sh, ch, th and r. However, people that know them can mostly understand them
- Now play more with other children and share things
- Sometimes sound as if they are stammering or stuttering. They are usually trying to share their ideas before their language skills are ready. This is perfectly normal at this age, just show you are listening and give them plenty of time. It’s not helpful to draw attention to their ‘stammering’ by saying things like ‘take your time’. Just try to be patient and not interrupt them.