Communication and Language Policy

We believe that the development of language skills is crucial to a child’s learning in every area of the curriculum. Every experience, activity and resource within the Nursery should provide an opportunity to further develop the skills of communication and language.It is our aim to provide an environment rich in opportunities to talk, listen, use symbols and make marks, thus laying sound foundations for the future development of reading and writing.

We understand that the children within the Nursery vary greatly in their language abilities and will provide support, encouragement and time wherever possible.
We will talk to the children on a one-to-one basis, as well as in groups, asking open-ended questions and listening carefully to their answers.

At every opportunity and in a variety of contexts we will encourage the children to:

� Describe, explain and predict
� Ask questions and develop ideas
� Talk to another child or adult with growing confidence
� Participate in conversations of increasing complexity
� Respond to and participate in role play, puppet play, stories, songs, rhymes and poems
� Express their needs, thoughts and feelings using appropriate verbal and non-verbal language

Stories and books form a vital part of the Nursery environment. The story corner is cosy and welcoming, with a good variety of fiction and non-fiction books available at all times.

The children are encouraged to look at books independently, with a friend or in groups. The staff are often available to read to the children on a one-to-one basis as well as in small groups, allowing them to become familiar with the layout and language of books eg page, title, author and publisher.

“Story time” is an important part of our Nursery day, when the children are encouraged to listen and respond, sometimes to familiar and well-loved texts, sometimes to something new and wonderful.

At all times the staff aim to be animated and enthusiastic, believing that a positive role model is vital if we are to nurture a love of books and stories.

The children are provided during play with a variety of experiences, which help their listening skills to develop. Circle time, story time, songs, rhymes, games and poems, along with the use of the listening centre and tape recorder are all included in the daily routine, allowing the children to listen and then respond with increasing skill, while developing a deeper understanding of the need to take turns when talking and listening.

The development of early literacy skills is a vital part of the work of the Nursery Team. In a wide variety of play situations opportunities are provided to:

� Develop an awareness of the sounds and rhythm of words
� Hear and have fun with rhymes and poems
� Recognise familiar letters and words in the environment around them, including their own names
� Begin to recognise the link between the written and spoken word via captions, scribing, labelling etc
� Become familiar with upper and lower case letters of the alphabet through games, printing, displays, magnetic letters etc
� Experiment with a variety of writing materials, in the “writing corner” and throughout the Nursery eg shopping lists, letters to post, message cards etc

It is our belief that exposing the children to a vast variety of early literacy experiences while in the Nursery is of limited value without the opportunities to continue this learning in the home. We therefore offer parents/carers opportunities to attend workshops in early literacy skills, along with information provided in Newsletters, on the Noticeboard and in informal chats about the activities, experiences, stories, songs and rhymes with which the children are involved on a daily basis.

NB Wherever significant difficulties with speech and/or language are observed, our concerns are discussed with the child’s parent/carer before a referral is made to the Speech and Language Dept in Haddington.

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A rural idyll in East Lothian!