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Key Focus: Speaking Skills

Summer 1 Minibeasts and Habitats

Key Focus: Speaking Skills


Talking has been described as ‘brain food for kids’ and is one of the most important skills for young children to develop in their early education.


At its simplest, we encourage our children to speak and answer questions with phrases and complete sentences, rather than pointing or saying ‘this’ or ‘there’. “Use your words words” is a phrase we would use to encourage children to speak in a more specific way.


As speaking skills grow we support children to speak in more complicated sentences, maybe joining thoughts together using ‘and’ or ‘because’. Children can then give simple explanations. By joining sentences with words like ‘firstthen next’ children can retell events in their own lives or from stories.


In Nursery we develop children’s speaking skills by planning activities, such as Circle Times that help each child to have a turn at talking, and also to listen to each other, and to learn from each other. Staff continually speak to the children using slightly more advanced speech than the children use, modelling good use of language. For example, if a child said “Playing with the car” a staff member might say “Yes, you are playing with the blue car. Izzy is playing with a fire engine”. The aim is for the children to hear lots of language rich conversation, not for their speech to be corrected.


If a child is reluctant to speak, we might start by encouraging them to speak one to one with an adult. Using puppets or toys can be used to help support children. Sometimes staff may deliberately make a silly mistake, for example put their coat on backwards, to encourage the child to tell them what they have done wrong.


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If you are concerned about your child’s language development, please talk to any member of staff.