Foundation Degree (FdA) in Children’s and Young People’s Services (Pathway)
Programme Code L591
Children and Young People Communicating – Module 4FD506
The following essay will explore and demonstrate an understanding of how children and young people communicate, learn and develop through language and literacy and reflect on the role the practitioner plays in providing a communication rich environment to do this. Lev Vygotsky emphasised the important role that language plays in the development of thought. He said that by talking with children built up their knowledge of language by using everyday experiences, which also helped build concepts. Piaget, on the other hand, believed that the use of language followed the development of the concept. Emphasis will be placed upon the links between early speech and listening skills and the ability to read.
Communication is a complicated process that demands putting together information from many sources, and expressing thoughts with clarity and relevant content, according to established conventions and an awareness of our conduct through the reactions of others to what we say and do (Sage, 2006:1)
Communication has been described as the process where information is transmitted from one person to another. This includes the use of both verbal and non-verbal means to convey a message. Non-verbal communication plays a huge part in face to face communication and includes facial expressions as well as bodily and is only partially spoken. While young children are still learning verbal skills the non-verbal ways in which we communicate play a vital role in their lives. Children learn a lot of their communication skills verbal and non verbal through play and exploration as well as by observing and interacting with others. Within the early year’s setting it is important to establish consistent ways of communicating as it will help to avoid misunderstanding for the staff and the children and they come to know what to expect and how to react appropriately. Research shows high-quality early learning and care is important because children who attend higher quality preschool provision tend to do better throughout primary school, particularly in reading. Department for Education, 2012
Before practitioners and teachers set out to teach and encourage language development certain elements that make up language and communication skills need to be defined and understood in order to model correct use of language and how to build on the existing skills that individual children already hold. Language skills are made up of both speaking and listening and both need to be learnt.
Practitioners need to be able to use their observation skills to assess what children know already and what to do in terms of supporting and extending children’s development as readers and writers. Nutbrown, 1999:72
Children with speech, language or communication needs are at a much higher risk of difficulties with reading, writing and spelling later within their education. If children aren’t able to say words correctly, they will be more likely to have greater difficulties in 'sounding out' words for reading and spelling, or writing them down. If they can't understand the words they hear, they will struggle to understand what they have read. There are support networks available for early years settings to offer training and guidance in how to deliver effective communication groups particularly aimed at childrens attention and listening skills. Parents are invited to attend workshops within the setting and shown the skills to hopefully use within the home environment too. The earlier the groups start the more effective the skills will be when the children are expected to be ready to learn to read and write independently. According to the ICAN organisation 50-90% of children with persistent speech, language and communication difficulties go on to have reading difficulties. Children who live in...
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