Speech Language and Communication Framework (SLCF)

Improving Language and Communication in Early Years

As one of the prime areas of the EYFS, effective communication and language development is essential for all early years settings. Here we outline some of the means Early Years Practitioners can use to monitor and improve communication and language learning and development within a setting and ensure that they are meeting requirements in this area.

EYFS Statutory Framework and Development Matters

The early learning goals for Communication and Language are set out in the EYFS Statutory Framework 

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 events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Settings must monitor the early learning goals through ongoing/formative assessment as well as the Progress Check at Age 2 and Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which should be completed in the final term of the year in which the child reaches five years of age.

Practitioners can then use the Development Matters document to match what they provide to a child's current needs. This involves observing children within the setting and at home, assessing how much progress each child has made on their developmental pathway and then putting a plan in place for that child's ongoing development.

Development Matters sets out what a child might learn at different stages divided into age groups (A Unique Child), what adults can do to support this learning (Positive Relationships) and what adults can provide to support learning (Enabling Environments).

Speech Language and Communication Framework (SLCF)

Practitioners feeling unsure about the skills and knowledge they need in order to support the communication development of the children in their care, particularly those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), can use the SLCF to self evaluate their skills and find out what training would benefit them.

The SLCF supports the recognition and development of the appropriate skills and knowledge to effectively support childrens' speech, language and communication development.

The SLCF contributes to the Children’s Workforce Strategy and relates to the Integrated Qualifications Framework (IQF); it ranges from Level 2 through to Level 8 and links to the relevant National Occupational Standards for Early Years Professionals.

More details about the SLCF can be found at www.communicationhelppoint.org.uk

Every Child A Talker Programme

Settings who require additional support when it comes to the developing communication and language should join the 'Every Child a Talker' (ECAT) programme. This applies if:

  • You find that your setting has high numbers of children with speech, language and communication delay.
  • You've identified communication skills as a priority focus for development.
  • Achieving a “good level of development” is being affected by children's speech and language delay.
  • You are looking for an outcome based intervention programme linked to pupil premium.
  • You are developing your offer for children with SLCN.

The ECAT programme is designed to help early years practitioners create a developmentally appropriate, supportive and stimulating learning environment in which children can enjoy experimenting with and learning language.

ECAT uses everyday, fun and interesting activities which reflect children's interests to encourage early language development and build their vocabularies to help them become confident and skilled communicators.

The programme is one year long and requires one member of staff to take on the role of the Early Language Lead Practitioner (ELLP). It also includes 2 full days of Language for Learning Foundation Stage training and 3 half day cluster meetings to explore knowledge and share skills.

The programme is free for up to 20 nursery settings in the most vulnerable areas each year but settings can also commission it themselves.

For more information please contact your local authority.

Nursery Resources also offer printed and bound copies of Every Child a Talker: Guidance for Early Language Lead Practitioners

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