Speaking and listening. I CAN reported that over 50% of children in the UK are starting school with some form of temporary or permanent language difficulty. Bercow report. Strengthening children’s early language development is the golden thread in improving quality outcomes for young children. Sue Ellis, Director EYFS
Environmental factors to creating spaces for speaking and listening. • Use of space. • Storage and resource management. • Noise. • Colour. • Light.
Use of space. • Careful observation of children, indoors and outdoors, will tell us about their preferences for communication and where they prefer to learn. • This may not always be static and can depend on: • Levels of confidence; • Who else is present; • The complexity of the task; • The dynamics of relationships on the day; • The time of day. • Children do not always need an adult to initiate conversations.
Storage and resource management. • Make sure that children have access to interesting and well presented resources. • Look at displays from a child’s perspective to establish if they are over-stimulating. Keep displays simple and on neutral backing. • Use resources which are interesting, unusual and worth investigating.
Noise. • Many children are extremely sensitive to noise and this can make them anxious. • Quiet, calm spaces need to be created both indoors and outdoors. • It is important to monitor times when the noise levels are at their highest – for example at lunch time – why?
Colour. • The main colour scheme in a learning environment should be a single colour in varying shades selected from a natural palette. • Deep, ‘warm’ colours give the environment an intimate, cosy feeling. • Light, ‘cool’ colours make the environment seem more spacious and have a calming effect. • Clean, clear, light colours are usually best for a learning atmosphere.
Light. • Research shows that we are energised by natural sunlight and children learn faster in rooms with natural light. • Light has a direct impact on speaking and listening skills. • Artificial light can create atmosphere with the use of drapes, nets and blinds to diffuse light. • Have different light in areas for different activities.