Communication & Language is one of the three prime areas of the EYFS framework, and children’s spoken language underpins each area of their learning. There is nothing better for children’s language skills than to be immersed in a language-rich environment, with opportunities to explore new words in a variety of different contexts.
Through conversation (peer-to-peer and with adults), reading and role play, children can learn and become comfortable with new and exciting language which will extend their learning and play opportunities even more.
Role Play is one of the best ways for children to develop their vocabulary and language, whilst exploring their imagination and making sense of the world around them, in a safe environment.
Through role play, children can explore and experiment with words and language they have heard elsewhere. Dress up and theatre play, perhaps incorporating helicopter stories, are great for engaging children in single or shared high focus role play activities and can be part of your guided or free play set up. Resources can be varied and multi-purpose, meaning space and budget needn’t be an issue. Setting up a kitchen or market area is also a great way to encourage conversation, as it gives children the opportunity to engage with a wealth of resources in realistic and imaginative ways.
Children’s language can also benefit from engaging in small world play, again, whether it’s free play or guided. Small world play gives children another opportunity to act out scenarios they’ve experienced or witnessed, testing out the language they heard related to those situations. The resources you offer should therefore reflect a diverse range of activities and cultures, as well as natural objects they are familiar with and those that may be new to them.
Exploring sensory resources can also be a great way to encourage communication with any children in your setting. It allows them to learn and use descriptive and comparative language for anything they see, hear or touch, building conversations with adults and peers alike.