L is for Language – The ABC of Early Years Education
A language-rich environment offers a fantastic learning tool for children. As well as providing information about the world around them, regular language exposure encourages little ones to pick up on varied sentence structures, increase their vocabulary, as well as learning how words work in different contexts.
As a result, it also improves cognition, as well as speech and language abilities — with social and emotional development following suit.
But providing a language-rich environment is only one part of the equation, we need to ensure that a child is accessing it — but how?
- Are children watching the teacher’s face too carefully? If they can’t hear correctly, they’ll instinctively try to lip read or pick up facial cues.
- Is a child consistently sitting extremely close to the practitioner? This can provide a bodily clue that a child is struggling to hear.
- Do they turn to the sound of their own name? If not, it could be an indication that they don’t have clear hearing.
Ways to increase language access for children, include:
- Ensuring that a practitioner is not backlit. With the glare of light, glasses wearers or those with eyesight issues can struggle to see faces, which takes away some of the signals that assist hearing.
- Minimise background noise. Unnecessary sound can prove detrimental, given that young children struggle to filter out irrelevant noise.
- Include soft furnishings within a setting to dampen additional sound.