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Queenswell Infant & Nursery School

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Communication and Language

Communication and Language


CAL is crucial for laying the foundations for language development and cognitive development. This is why CAL underpins all seven areas of learning and development. At Queenswell, a large proportion of children typically start with language skills below that expected for their age. This is why we put a large emphasis on the development of communication and language skills during the Early years of a child’s education at Queenswell. We aim to significantly improve children’s ability to use communication and language across all other areas of learning through a range of approaches.



We provide a language-rich environment. This includes:

  • Commenting on what children are interested in and what they are doing.
  • Back and forth interactions - conversations with adults
  • Sensitive questioning that invites children to elaborate on their ideas
  • Echoing back what children say with added new vocabulary
  • Reading to children and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems.
  • Opportunities to embed new words in a range of contexts such as storytelling, roleplay and real-life experiences that follow children’s interests and fascinations.


Supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

We provide an enhanced curriculum based on the individual needs of these children with the support of the document ‘Universally Speaking’ developed by The Communication Trust.

We use small group intervention programmes such as ‘The Nuffield Early Language Intervention’ and ‘Early Talk Boost’ to identify and provide intensive support for children who are significantly delayed in their communication and language skills.

Pre-School                                        →

Nursery                                            →


Grammar/spoken language
  • Adults provide a narrative of what a child does.
  • Adults echo back what a child says using correct grammar e.g. “me want book” → “I want the book”.
  • Adults echo back what a child says using the correct grammar with added new vocabulary e.g. “the bus go fast” → “the big bus is driving fast”.
  • Adults model language that includes more complex grammatical components e.g. “the big bus is driving very quickly”, “the big bus is driving faster than the car”.
Developing language and vocabulary
  • Focus on traditional nursery rhymes and simple high-quality texts including wordless books.
  • Continue to focus on traditional nursery rhymes, introduce some traditional tales, high-quality rhyming and repetitive texts and non-fiction books that link to a child’s interest or fascination.
  • Introduce a wider range of texts including traditional tales, modern stories, non-fiction that include covering some scientific concepts and related vocabulary, rhymes and poems.
  • Daily planned nursery rhymes and action songs to support foundations for phonics.
  • Daily planned nursery rhymes and action songs to support foundations for phonics.
  • Daily planned nursery rhymes and action songs to support foundations for phonics.
  • Introduce vocabulary according to topics of learning or interest – names of colours, animals, transport etc
  • Introduce vocabulary according to topics of learning or interest with specific vocab e.g. if children are interested in dinosaurs, names of specific dinosaurs may be introduced (Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops)


  • Introduce vocabulary according to topics of learning or interest with an increasing range of specific technical vocab and categorisation e.g. a T-Rex is a carnivore.
Using new language and vocabulary in a range of contexts
  • Opportunities for roleplay that reflect children’s common real-life experiences at this stage of development - home, shop, doctor.
  • Opportunities for roleplay that reflect children’s common real-life experiences as well as opportunities to explore scenarios they may not have had personal experience of, but may have experienced through books, other media or visitors to school e.g. hairdresser, vets, police, fire services
  • Opportunities for roleplay and storytelling that reflect the breadth of books that they have experienced e.g. Goldilocks house role-play.
  • Small world characters which reflect basic categories of objects e.g. animals, transport, people.
  • Small world characters with a greater degree of categorisation e.g. farm animals, wild animals, dinosaurs, cars, trains.
  • Small world characters including those from specific stories or rhymes e.g. The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
  • Large loose part play objects such as wooden blocks, boxes, baskets and tubes which provide children with opportunities to use imaginative language in their play.
  • Loose part play including curiosity objects such as pine cones, seed pods or other natural resources where children are encouraged to imagine what those objects could be.
  • Children encouraged to build imaginative stories with their peers around loose part play.


  • Show and tell –Adult can talk for child if necessary while child standing up and showing picture/object.
  • Model for children how to ask questions – introduce vocab such as who? what? when? where? how?
  • Show and tell – Children encouraged use own words to show other children.
  • Encourage children to ask own questions using vocab such as who? what? when? where? how?
Communication Friendly Classrooms
  • Visuals to support children’s understanding e.g. key concepts such as ‘waiting’, ‘stop’, ‘toilet’.
  • Introduction of visual timetables and communication board to share needs and wants e.g. ‘I am hurt ‘, ‘I need the toilet’
  • More formal visual timetable, for sequence of activities taking part in the day. e.g. phonics, carpet time.


Early Learning Goals: *(only to be used as assessment check point at end of reception year)

Listening, attention and understanding: Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions. Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding. Hold conversation when engaged in back and forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.
Speaking: Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary. Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate. Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.


Curricular goals:
Pre-school: Children are confident to communicate with others to express things they need and want. They are happy to share their space with others and use a range of verbal and non-verbal communication when interacting with their peers. They use an increasing vocabulary to reflect their experiences and to support their imaginative play; and enjoy sharing books and singing songs with familiar adults.
Nursery: Children communicate with others effectively, using developing grammatical structures. They can collaborate with peers to build up ideas and respond to each other in appropriate ways. They use language and new vocabulary in increasingly imaginative ways. They have knowledge of a number of traditional tales and nursery rhymes.
Reception: Children have the ability to use communication and language across all areas of learning in order to fully participate and benefit from the wider curriculum. Children are confident communicators which is demonstrated through shared sustained thinking with others, including by asking questions. They use vocabulary that has been taught, in sentences and in context in a range of situations. Children share their own ideas about things they have learnt.



Moving on to KS1 – Links to National Curriculum: English, EAL and languages

By the end of EYFS children may know and sometimes use vocabulary such as:


Speaking and listening

who? what? when? where? how?