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Communication and Language

We know that language is more than words.  As children grow, they begin to explore different sounds, symbols and words in the world around them. The number of quality conversations and interactions they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. We pride ourselves on our high quality and ambitious interactions between staff and children.

At Atherstone Nursery School, we understand that children’s communication is so important for us to understand what they know and how they feel about the world around them.  We pride ourselves in developing all communication methods in children including Makaton signing, British Sign Language, symbols, reduced language and the use of Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), choosing boards and objects of reference. We use the EEF ShREC (Share Attention, Respond, Expand, Conversation) model to ensure we use high quality interactions with our children - ShREC is an approach that is a simple, memorable set of specific evidence informed strategies that can be embedded into everyday practice.


Our Curriculum Goals for Communication and Language involve giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations so that they become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.


Our team of staff are all time to talk™ trained. time to talk™ is a Communication Strategy that provides practitioners with the information and skills to support the development of speech, language and communication skills of young children. Elly Mitchell, Debbie Douglas and Sharon Wood are our time to talk™ Speech and Language Champions trained to Tier 3 and complete WellComm toolkits with select children.


We carefully plan the children’s communication and language skills through identifying gaps in learning, age related milestones, Speech and Language targets, Individual Education Plans and the children’s interests. Some of the ways in which we do this are:

  • Listening to our children and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added

  • Reading to our children daily and engaging them actively in planned stories, non-fiction texts, rhymes and poems. Through repetition this helps our children embed new words.

  • We promote conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher

  • Providing a language rich environment filled with curiosity

  • Asking sensitive questions that invites them to elaborate on their vocabulary and experiences

  • Encouraging children to continue to talk in their home language at home, understanding that it is just as important as English

  • Providing a Lending library so that our families can access and choose books with their children to promote a love of learning

  • We teach weekly Round Robin activities which focus on specific skills such sewing, yoga, cooking, gardening and rhythm and beat and through this introduce children to subject specific vocabulary

  • We address gaps and challenge children’s communication and language through carefully planned, small group interventions such as:

    • listening and attention interventions – for children to make sense of the words they hear and respond

    • speech sounds interventions – to support children with articulation

    • English as an additional language interventions – to support vocabulary development and provide vocabulary in context

    • Phonics booster interventions – to challenge and stretch children with their phonetic awareness


We also teach Communication and Language through weekly phase 1 phonics sessions with a focus on Environmental Sounds, Alliteration, Rhyme, Initial sounds, Body Percussion and Syllables and assess children using OP&L Milestones and Skills Communication and Language


Here are some useful links to support you with your child’s communication and language at home:




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