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Beckton and
Royal Docks

Children's Centre

Speech & Language

What is speech, language and communication?

  • Speech is the sounds that build up and are expressed in words.
  • Language involves talking to describe or hold conversations, and understanding   what other people say
  • Communication is the way in which language is used to interact with others (The Communication Trust, p.3).

Why is Speech and Language important?

Speech, language and communication are all needed to express feelings, describe events, share news; and without any one of these, what children say and understand can become confused (The Communication Trust, p.3).

How does the Children’s Centre support children’s Speech and Language?

Everyone who works with young children has a responsibility to support their language development, and we do this in the Children’s Centre in partnership with parents because: ‘Early language development is critical for future learning and school readiness’ Foundation Years 2013, p1).

Communication and Language is one of the prime areas in the revised Early Years Foundation Stage, for which we plan activities to support children’s learning and development. Hence, in our activities; staff members provide the opportunities for young children to make choices; sing songs and rhymes; listen to stories; play and interact with other children and adults; as individuals and in groups. All of these experiences support children’s language development.

Babies cry or smile to communicate, and toddlers may have a tantrum which again is an expression of their feelings, as they have not yet developed words to express themselves verbally. This is all part of their learning and development, however language development can be encouraged by talking to them in simple sentences about everyday experiences such as going to the shops, repeating rhymes, and sharing a story book together.

Parents and staff may use baby signs and symbols to support the communication of children. We have staff within the centre trained in Baby Signing to support babies’ communication. 

Speech and language therapists will offer intervention to those who have been assessed to have a communication delay / needing further support.  They work closely with the Children’s Centre in the community, to support individual children’s needs.  “Early identification of speech and language difficulties is absolutely essential. The sooner a child’s needs can be identified the greater chance there is to make sure they have the correct support so they don’t get left behind” (I CAN p,1).

Please refer to our What’s on page for details on sessions to support early language and communication in children.

  • Foundation Years (2013) Early Language: Foundation Years. [s.l]: Foundation Years
  • I CAN (2010) Supporting Families. [s.l]: I CAN
  • The Communication Trust (no date) Speech, Language and Communication: Information for Managers and School Staff. London: The Communication Trust