Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Setting a good communication habit early on – by Press Officer Lynne Milford

UEA Nursery representatives with Vanessa Feltz
We all know that good communication is vital at any age, but the sooner children can get into the 'communication habit' the better. It is also very important that children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) are identified early so they can receive help and support.

Quality early years provision with an emphasis on nurturing good communication in nurseries, childminders, play groups or Children’s Centres is key. This is why we are once again looking to honour the Early Years Setting of the Year in our Shine a Light Awards 2012.

Last year, the winner was the University of East Anglia Nursery. They were praised by the judges for carrying out termly assessments of the children’s development and highlighting any children who were struggling. The nursery also uses play plans to develop specific activities and encourage the children to talk more and expand their vocabulary.

‘Story Sacks’ are taken home by parents to promote speaking and listening at home and they also provide informal parents’ open evenings for staff to interact and share information.

Staff at the nursery said: “Since winning the award we have been approached and visited by other professionals seeking advice. We were proud to be able to mention our award during our OFSTED inspection in January, when we received “Outstanding” across the board. The Vice Chancellor of the University took the time to write to the nursery, congratulating us on our achievement. All staff are extremely proud that their hard work has been recognised and it has been a real boost.”

For more information read the UEA Nursery case study here

This year, the judges are again looking for early years settings which are working hard to promote and support children’s communication. This could be:

• Prioritising speech, language and communication development in all children

• Making sure children with SLCN are quickly identified and supported

• Involving parents in supporting children to develop good speech, language and communication

• Working in partnership with other professionals and agencies to support better communication development

• Providing evidence of the impact they have made on children by changing their practices

• Investing in their staff training and development to promote excellent practice.

So, do you think you’ve got what it takes to be Early Years Setting of the Year?

We’d love to hear from you about your work and how you support children to improve their speech, language and communication. Log onto http://www.shinealightawards.co.uk/ to download an application form and good luck!

  • If you’d like to help us promote this category to others, you can download our eCommunications Toolkit here It has lots of hints and tips to make the most of your social media and email networks.

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