Early Years Settings
Communication is a vital skill; it is crucial for learning, play, friendships, and well-being. Children’s communication skills develop rapidly during their early years. At home and in early years settings, child are constantly learning language whilst playing, singing rhymes and enjoying stories together. As children continue to grow and develop so do their communication skills. They can gradually focus their attention on activities for longer periods of time, understand slightly longer or more complicated instructions, and their ability to have a conversation will also be developing.
Children will develop at different rates, but you can take a look at children’s ages and stages of communication development on our Communication Carousel. This discusses children’s communication development from birth – age 14+, in the following key areas:
The communication skills at the bottom of the pyramid are the foundations for the skills at the top, so ‘attention and listening’ is the best area to start with when using the Communication Carousel.
The Communication Carousel also includes activities and resources linked to each area and level of development.
If you would like to check the progress of a child’s communication skills, you can use the Progress Checker on the Talking Point website. Once you have done this, you can come back to our website and look at activities for the suggested areas using our carousel.
Information about bilingualism is available in our handout ‘Your Bilingual Child‘.
Early years practitioners will find the following top tips from ICan helpful:
From beginning of June 2018 onwards until the end of the summer term, the SLT service will aim to continue joining Stay and Play (Universal sessions) in certain Children’s Centres, as they have done in the last few years. We will also aim to continue supporting the staff in Children’s Centres to deliver our early intervention programme “Little Talkers” where possible.
In some areas however, due to the changeover of staff in Children’s Centres, it may not be possible for them to run Universal sessions and Little Talkers, and in these areas, the SLT service will set up some additional bookable screening clinic sessions and a Parent Talk plus follow up appointment. These sessions can be accessed by contacting our offices on 01296 566045. This is likely to be required for Aylesbury and Buckingham areas.
It’s not possible at the moment, to say where normal service will continue (Stay and Play and Little Talkers) or more screening clinics and Parent Talks will run. Given this lack of clarity, we would urge referring services in Early Years settings, Health Visitors, Paediatricians and other professionals, to ask parents who require speech and language assessments, to check the situation with their local Children’s Centre.
During the summer, we will provide further communication about how we expect services to run from September onwards in the autumn.
Early Years Settings
The Buckinghamshire Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service works with children and young people from 0 – 25 years. We work in partnership with staff in Early Years settings. We can provide training, liaison and advice to staff working directly with the child. This enskills the key people in the child’s environment, who are then able to develop his/her communication on a daily basis. Where appropriate, we may work in small groups or individually with children on specific targets agreed jointly with the child’s family and setting.
If you have concerns about a child’s communication development, you should first discuss these with the child’s parents, use the Talking Point Progress Checker and try some of the activities on our Communication Carousel. Parents can also take a look at the Communication Carousel and play some of the games at home.