Explain the ways in which adults can effectively support and extend the speech, language and communication development of children during the early years.
1. Use everyday events to maintain a continual narrative of what you are doing, how you are doing things and what is coming next. E.g. When I wash my son’s hands or run him a bath, I always tell him that I turn the cold water on first then add hot water to make it warm. I let him hold is hand under the running water and ask him to tell me as it gets warmer until it is a comfortable temperature. When out and about I ask him what he can see or hear, often he will point something out to me that we had previously seen.
2. Help children to become confident speakers and good listeners: I try to always go down to the child’s physical level so that we are at eye level. I allow the child to finish their sentence before replying and will try to use a short sentence to allow the child to have finished listening to me before they start talking again. When they tell me their stories, I will often ask them to elaborate on their story, e.g. a child was telling me about the visit to the park on a weekend, and I asked them if the climbing frame was made from wood or metal (was actually trying to find out which park they had visited).
3. Correct grammar and pronunciation: Instead of using a negative message such as “it is may I and not can I” use a positive sentence such as “You may have some squash.”
4. Extend children’s vocabulary: Adults need to remind themselves to make talk interesting, by using adventurous adjectives and adverbs (age appropriate) to introduce new words to children. Also in my setting we have a letter table where children are encouraged to bring in something from home that starts with the letter. This introduces new words to the other children at the same time allowing the child that brought the item to tell the other children about the item.
5. Work with parents: In my setting there is a child with cochlear implants, as a result I have had to start learning Makaton and attend courses on understanding cochlear implants. The child’s mother will often attend sessions so that we can help each other understand what we need to be doing to help the child. (The child has an ISP)
6. Ask the child questions: Use closed (typically yes or no questions) with younger children, introducing open questions as the child gets older.