Improving communication and language

Sheringham nursery school

An intentional reconfiguration of modular Roomscapes can give transformative results. Using what they had, Sheringham nursery school created spaces to optimise communication and language. Now we’re talking!

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Fliss: I think what's really different about working Community Playthings is the passion and commitment that Community Playthings clearly have for early childhood education and care.

Melissa: Communication and language predicts long term outcomes for children, so their educational outcomes, but also their outcomes later in life. We've seen a lot more children who have got communication language difficulties, that's direct impact of COVID and we really needed to do something about it.

Fliss: What we decided to do was to undertake an observation using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales which really helped us to critically evaluate our environment and also think what do we want to do? We want to improve communication and language first and foremost. We want to support children's emotional wellbeing. Community Playthings use that tool to really help design the classrooms and the layouts that enable us to identify some really key action points.

Melissa: We decided to run Talking Time which is an intervention to support communication and language.

Fliss: By creating these spaces with this amazing furniture, we've been able to really increase the opportunities for children to start to have those back and forth conversations.

Rahima: We have definitely seen so far a massive improvement as a result of our interventions that we are now able to run successfully within those quiet spaces. Some of my key children who started nursery with me in September, I noticed a significant reduced level of confidence. One of my little boys who's my key child, he came in just having lots of sounds, lots of nonverbal communication, facial expressions. So after beginning the intervention I've noticed having those repeated opportunities in those smaller, quieter spaces have really supported him to now be able to have more words, playing one or two words, joining them together and this has also supported his play skills as well.

Adam: A child who came into nursery a little bit later than the other children and was very very shy and always taking a step back and not knowing how to join in her language has just rapidly improved because we have the nice small areas that allow that to happen. Creating these spaces in the classroom has improved confidence. Children's voices aren't getting lost. The quiet children are becoming really confident. The chatty children are developing their language. More and more and more all children's voices are being heard.

Fliss: We've always used Community Play playthings furniture and what's so wonderful about it is the sort of modularity. Having a system that is modular that you can add to is really powerful because not only does it mean that you can maintain elements of it, but you can add to it over time.

Fliss: The thoughtfulness of the products is really, really apparent, especially in comparison to other things that we have used. How the different pieces of furniture connect allows us to kind of be responsive to any possible challenges that come our way.

Adam: As we were thinking about designing this room, we used our Community Playthings furniture deliberately to create zones of learning

Melissa: If we hadn't addressed this, this cohort would still be struggling. We wouldn't have seen the progress that we're seeing now and that would have been very difficult for those children. So it impacts the now, but it impacts their future in a major way.

Melissa: Children need good communication, language skills for all areas of their learning. It is the foundation of everything. So we need to be making sure it's a priority.

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