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Monthly update for communication, language and literacy

About our monthly updates

Our monthly updates provide information and resources for early years practitioners to support communication, language and literacy developments.

January 2023

This month our Come Talk with Me Top Tip is:

“Have some screen free time each day – turn off the TV, phone and computer and talk with your child. This will give your child time to learn new words” 

Currently the World Health Organization recommends no screen time for babies under 2 and no more than one hour of screen time a day for those aged 2 to 4. 

The negative effects of too much screen time for babies and toddlers range from shorter attention span to lower empathy, which ultimately can lead to difficulties with communication and language skills.

In this article Babies need humans not screens, Carlota Nelson, director of the documentary Brain Matters, explores why too much screen time can harm babies and the importance of ensuring children enjoy off-screen experiences.

Happy New Year

As children return after the holidays, you may have noticed they have changed and learnt new skills. They may have increased the number of words they are saying, gained in confidence or become more interested in books. Use this opportunity to complete your WellComm screenings to help ensure children are getting the support and challenge they need.

You can also use the new year to promote to parents a fresh start to get into a reading routine and perhaps join the library if they haven’t already.

Finally provide props and resources in your settings for children to be able to recreate and talk about their experiences over the holidays. For example by putting wrapping paper, tape, ribbon and boxes in the creative area, you will provide an invitation for children to engage in wrapping (and unwrapping) ‘presents’ which is something they have likely been involved in. This will promote a wide range of learning opportunities, particularly communication and language skills.

Children’s books about health

You can use the children’s love of books to inspire them to think about their health responsibly. The National Literacy Trust have put together their favourite titles for children from babies all the way up to age 11. They cover subjects in health and wellness including food, exercise, and looking after our teeth.

December 2022

This month our Come Talk with Me Top Tip is:

“Use your daily routines as time to talk with your child. These routines give great opportunities to repeat everyday words”

Young children need to hear the same words over and over again before they can begin to understand them and then eventually say them. By the time they are 6 years old they need to know and use 14, 000 words! Making routines such as snack time, lunch time and nappy changing time opportunities for children to hear and learn new words is one way you can help increase their vocabulary.

Please note the Top Tip Posters will no longer be available in printed form. You can however share the poster electronically with parents and your teams, as well as print a copy for your own use and displays.

Tiny Happy People

New research suggests that baby’s brains start making connections for speech and language while they are still in the room. Read this interesting article by BBC Tiny Happy People to find out more about this.

National Literacy Trust

Last month was  Non-fiction November! Introducing your baby or child to a wide range of books will help them enjoy books and reading.

This month the national Literacy Trust have pulled together some Seasonal activities to do in the setting and to share with parents, that provide brilliant opportunities to promote children’s communication, language and literacy.

Finally make sure to keep an eye out on the National Literacy Trust Facebook page this December for some very exciting early years content!