In the Autumn of 2021, we ran a communication and language study with our families attending at the time due to a decline in communication and language attainment nationally in early years. We found that parents felt less confident in supporting children with their language development: this was due to a number of factors including lack of perinatal and postnatal support, shutdown of baby clubs and groups during the pandemic and a lack of confidence in knowing what is expected when. 

In response to this, we applied for the 'covid regression fund' which was accepted in early 2022. This has allowed the setting to develop our provision in communication and language support. This included the following: 

  • We have devised a weekly program to support children in smaller groups to access speech and language therapy led by one of our Kindergarten Teacher's: Tara Snowdon. 
  • We have provided specific speech and language training for all of our practitioners.
  • The Wellcomm resource pack was bought into the setting. 
  • We created a library of story book packs for families to borrow. 
  • We strengthened our focus on the Imagination Library scheme. We pay for all of our children to receive a free book every month. 
  • We created the below document as a reference and technique pack for our families. 
  • We reviewed and tweeked our curriculum as necessary across the provision. This included 'Mr Tongue' being introduced as common practice from our Baby Lounge. We had a large mirror fitted in the Baby Lounge to support this and other activities. We looked closely at our routines to maximise opportunities for using our mouth muscles and developing our vocabulary. 
  • We have invited hartbeeps into our setting from the Summer Term to visit weekly, inviting families to join in these sessions. 
  • From Summer Term we plan to hold baby massage sessions for our youngest children and their families. 

Our Family Support Document

We devised this document in January 2022 to support our families with what to look out for and how to support children with development of communication and language.