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BACKGROUND

The structure of the National Curriculum and the Literacy Hour offers great possibilities for collaborative work between Speech and Language Therapists and Class Teachers. It is our experience that close joint working practices are the most effective way to enhance a student’s communication skills. From the first intentional communicative attempt through to grammatical structures and social skills, communication skills can be taught and developed within the framework of the Literacy Hour.

Children are much more likely to learn to communicate successfully in dynamic social interactions where they are motivated and enjoying themselves. This belief underpins all the communication work carried out at St. Nicholas School. The three developmental levels that we have divided the framework into are closely linked to the development of play in early childhood. As a child’s play skills develop, so too does their communication. In the absence of play, a child’s communication development is likely to be hampered. The level of play encouraged at each of the three levels is therefore in line with the developmental level of communication targeted.


At the Emerging level, play is repetitive and interactive with ritualised turn taking. A child at this level would also be looking to explore and may be showing anticipation. The games and activities used in the Emerging level thus focus on these types of play in order to encourage the child’s emerging communication skills

At the Developing level, a child will be enjoying representative play, investigative and manipulative play, noise-making play, interactive and pretend play. The activities and games used in the Developing level are therefore based around these types of play as a means of encouraging the child’s developing communication.

The Expanding level consists of more advanced investigative play, pretend play and imaginative play together with social play. The Expanding level of the Framework expects the child to have learned the basic social rules of play and to have developed reasonable listening and attention skills. It is at this level that we are encouraging expansion of grammatical structures through the activities and the appearance of more conversational skills.

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