Skip to content

Even the youngest pupils talk with confidence of the three Bible stories which exemplify the vision of achieving, believing and caring.

Siams, Jan 2020

EYFS Communication and Language

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.


Our children will be confident communicators who use a range of rich vocabulary within a variety of situations and conversations.  They will be clear when communicating their needs, wants, interests, thoughts and viewpoints.  Our children will be able to listen to others’ ideas respectfully and respond sensitively to those they disagree with.  Our children will use speech to ask relevant questions and to connect ideas.  The children will understand the importance of listening and will develop their ability to follow more complex instructions. Oracy and a child’s ability to verbally tell a story and communicate ideas are a prerequisite to reading and writing, so there is a clear focus on learning new vocabulary, articulating ideas in well-formed sentences and describing events with some details before beginning a more formal learning style.  


Our topics, routines and environment promote high quality communication and language development. Exciting and vocabulary rich texts are used to introduce children to new ideas, concepts and vocabulary, while also promoting curiosity and discussions.  Children are encouraged to ask questions in group and whole class discussion whenever possible.   Children who struggle to communicate are targeted in provision and learning interventions are used when children lack confidence or do not have the expected level of development.  Through our continuous provision and our learning environment, pupils are exposed to situations where they can experiment with the new language they have acquired (such as through role play) and use their listening skills as they interact with peers and adults. By being exposed to new experiences (such as trips and visitors), our children apply their speaking, listening, reasoning and questioning skills. Routines, such as snack times, are valuable opportunities where speaking and listening skills can be modelled and promoted through informal dialogue with peers and adults. The teachers at Down Ampney C of E Primary School model effective speaking and listening attributes through back and forth talk and use questioning and resources to further the children’s development. Repeating sentences back to children, modelling correct speech sounds, extending what they have said or describing and commenting on what is happening is also a regular practice used to develop speaking and listening skills.  Following observing and interacting with the children, the teachers reflect on the exchanges using their knowledge and assessments to build on the children’s learning, they will then provide developmentally appropriate experiences linked to the children’s next steps and interests. In addition to this, all Reception children are screened using ‘OxEd LanguageScreen’ and any child flagged with a concern may then have a follow up of a BPVS assessment to assess further needs. This assessment information is used to inform staff of specific needs as well as allowing the class teacher to determine children in focus for NELI (Nuffield Early Literacy Intervention) sessions throughout the year.  


Through our high-quality teaching and provision, we aspire for all children to reach the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Foundation Stage. All teachers know the children’s next steps and how to progress their knowledge and skills through interactions, play and resources within group and whole class work. Our children move into Year 1 with the confidence and skills to express themselves in a range of different situations, using a wide variety of rich language. They have fantastic listening skills and the ability to take part in, hold and extend back and forth conversations with others. In addition to this, subject leaders across the school are aware of how children join Down Ampney and how the foundation stage introduces key concepts ready for subject specific learning in Year 1.