We need to talk ...
- Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2017 20:35
What's the one simple thing that we can all do to hugely improve our children's attainment and progress throughout school and beyond?
It's simple - talk!
Research shows us that good language and communication skills play a crucial role in influencing how successful our children will be at school and in life.
Language is the one tool we all need for thinking and learning. We use it to ask questions, voice our opinions, express our ideas and describe what we have learned about the world. Through communication we build relationships and resolve conflicts. Babies and toddlers begin to develop the language and communication skills that will affect how ready they are for school at age 4; how well they attain at age 7 and 11, how likely they are to achieve good GCSE grades.
So what can we do to help?
Nursery staff are trained to develop language skills and to help your children to talk about the world around them.
You can help your Nursery-aged children by talking to them on their journey to and from Nursery: point out and name the things you see around you; name the colours of objects; use early mathematical words like big, small, long, short, wide, near, far to describe the things you see; sing songs and nursery rhymes or have a favourite nursery rhymes CD in the car. You can also encourage them to talk in short sentences.
Early Years staff are trained to help develop your children's speaking and listening skills.
You can help your Reception children by sharing books with them every day; read to them and listen to them read; ask them about the characters in the book or ask them to tell you what has happened. Continue to sing songs with them and encourage them to join in with songs on their favourite TV programmes. Model whole sentences for them and encourage them to also speak in whole sentences.
Key Stage 1 staff are trained to develop children's communication skills - not just speaking but also, listening.
You can help your Key Stage 1 children by always asking them about their day and listening to what they tell you; ask them more questions linked to what they have told you; encourage them to have conversations with their brothers and sisters and help them to follow the rules of conversation - listening to others, taking it in turns to speak and using 'inside' voices. You can also continue to encourage them to speak in whole sentences.
Lower Key Stage 2 staff are trained to help children to express their ideas in words.
You can help your Lower Key Stage 2 children by asking them 'why do you think' and 'how do you know' questions; encourage them to justify their opinions with some evidence. Don't be afraid to ask them questions that you don't know the answer to - there are no wrong answers to questions that start with 'why do you think'. You could also teach them a new word each day. They'll love to show you how they can use their new words!
Upper Key Stage 2 staff are trained to help children communicate effectively in a range of situations.
You can help your Upper Key Stage 2 children by encouraging them to speak in a range of different situations. You could ask them to tell you their views on a news topic and then ask them to explain how they think someone else might feel about the same issue. Children love to have an opinion, but it's crucial that you listen as hard as they talk!
Good language and communication skills are vital if a child is to succeed in life and you have the most important role to play in their language development. We will be focusing on developing speech, language and communication skills across the curriculum in the coming year and if you would like any ideas on how to support your children further, please do not hesitate to contact us for ideas and resources.