Communication and Language



The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich  environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in  or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added,  practitioners will build children's language effectively. Reading frequently to children and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use  and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play,  where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a ring range of vocabulary and language structures.

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 Here are the age related expectations (Early Learning Goals) for these three aspects by the end of Reception:

ELG: Listening, Attention and Understanding 

Children at the expected level of development will:  

  • Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant  questions, comments and actions when being read to and  during whole class discussions and small group interactions; 
  • Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions  to clarify their understanding;  
  • Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges  with their teacher and peers. 

ELG: Speaking

Children at the expected level of development will:  

  • Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions,  offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary; 
  • Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate;  
  • Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support  from their teacher.