Speech & Language «
Speech & Language «

Speech & Language

Speech & Language

What is speech, language and communication?

  • Speech is the sounds that build up and are expressed in words.
  • Language involves talking to describe or hold conversations, and understanding   what other people say
  • Communication is the way in which language is used to interact with others (The Communication Trust, p.3).

Why is Speech and Language important?

Speech, language and communication are all needed to express feelings, describe events, share news; and without any one of these, what children say and understand can become confused (The Communication Trust, p.3).

How does the Children’s Centre support children’s Speech and Language?

Everyone who works with young children has a responsibility to support their language development, and we do this in the Children’s Centre in partnership with parents because: ‘Early language development is critical for future learning and school readiness’ Foundation Years 2013, p1).

Communication and Language is one of the prime areas in the revised Early Years Foundation Stage, for which we plan activities to support children’s learning and development. Progress is monitored along with the other six areas through Learning Journeys in some groups, and observations captured by photographs and captions.  Hence, in our activities; staff members provide the opportunities for young children to make choices; sing songs and rhymes; listen to stories; play and interact with other children and adults; as individuals and in groups. All of these experiences support children’s language development.

Babies cry or smile to communicate, and toddlers may have a tantrum which again is an expression of their feelings, as they have not yet developed words to express themselves verbally. This is all part of their learning and development, however language development can be encouraged by talking to them in simple sentences about everyday experiences such as going to the shops, repeating rhymes, and sharing a story book together.

Parents and staff may use Makaton signs and symbols to support the communication of children. Also, there are two members of staff trained in Makaton Baby Signing to support babies’ communication. However, sometimes parents may have concerns about their children’s language development, and staff can help them by referring for support from the Speech and Language Therapy Service. Speech and language therapists support children with identified speech, language and communication needs (Foundation Years, 2013). They work closely with the Children’s Centre in the community, to support individual children’s needs; and deliver training to practitioners in settings to improve their knowledge and skills of working with children and their parents. ‘Early identification of speech and language difficulties is absolutely essential. The sooner a child’s needs can be identified the greater chance there is to make sure they have the correct support so they don’t get left behind’ (I CAN p,1).


Foundation Years (2013) Early Language: Foundation Years. [s.l]: Foundation Years

I CAN (2010) Supporting Families. [s.l]: I CAN

The Communication Trust (no date) Speech, Language and Communication: Information for Managers and School Staff. London: The Communication Trust