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Language and Literacy Development



To develop, extend and enrich the skills of communication which the child has, in order to enable the child to function effectively as a member of society.


Communication, language and literacy permeate all areas of the nursery. The nursery as a whole is organised in order to promote and enhance development in communication, language and literacy, and to promote positive images and role models for the children.


Learning will be achieved via a mixture of adult directed and structured free play activities, delivered through cross-curricular activities and topic based themes.




To provide a stimulating environment in which communication and language skills can be nurtured and developed. To provide visual, auditory and tactile experiences which will provide stimuli for all children.




The programme of activities will provide opportunity for the children to use, explore, and develop skills in verbal communication.


The activities will support the children in forming relationships with both peers and adults in their ability to interact with others, and in the expression of thoughts and feelings. The children will experience the spoken word as a means of conveying information, sharing and receiving of ideas, and as a means of gaining insight into the world of imagination.




To provide the children with opportunities to develop skills in listening in order to be able to process information, interact with others and begin to share in other’s feelings and thoughts.


The activities will help the children to develop imagination and aesthetic awareness, and to develop the ability to respond to their own experiences and those of others.




To foster an enjoyment of books within the children.


The activities will enable the children to develop skills in using books as a means of gathering information, and as a means of gaining and sharing pleasure.




To provide opportunity for children to explore and develop skills in using writing as a means of communication.


The children will experience the use of writing as a means of conveying information, expressing one’s thoughts, ideas and feelings, and as a means of recording and ordering facts and information.


Operating Policy


The nursery will be organised in order to facilitate the development of the following areas of language:










A programme of activities based upon structured free play and staff directed work will be implemented and there will be opportunity for the children to communicate with peers, nursery staff, other adults and visitors to the nursery.


The children will also experience the use of gesture and expression as a means of conveying information. Where appropriate, the nursery staff will support children in developing alternative strategies (such as signing) as a means of communication.


For children whose first language is not English, the nursery will offer support and show respect for the home language and culture of the child through the use of books, pictures and other equipment which reflects and values their home language and culture. If possible parents will be encouraged to come into the nursery to share their knowledge with children and staff, and offer support to the bilingual learner.


Where there are already significant delays in the development of language when a child starts nursery (as noted by parents, health visitor, doctor, etc) or where a child does not appear to be making progress (as noted by staff and parents) then the nursery will consult with outside agencies such as speech therapists or the educational psychologist in order to ensure that the child receives the support that he/she needs.


The programme of activities will help the children to develop an awareness of how language is constructed and the children will be encouraged to listen to and form sounds and letters.


Equipment will be carefully selected to represent the nursery’s commitment to equal opportunity and will provide positive images for all the children. 


Programme of Work


The nursery will provide a wide range of opportunities and experiences through which language skills can be developed and promoted. These opportunities and experiences will be gained through a programme of activities based upon general and topic work. There will be a mixture of individual, group and adult directed activities which will be based upon structured play.


The programme will include some or all of the following types of activity:




           One-to-one discussions.


         Group discussions.


         Role play.


         Reciting poems as a group.


         Singing nursery rhymes as a group.


         Encouraging children to make up and tell stories based on pictures.


         Story telling followed by discussion about the story.




           Story telling to individuals.


         Story telling to groups.


         Sound lotto games.


         ‘Sound Walks’ focusing on what can be heard on a street or in a park.


         Giving the children simple instructions to follow.


         Asking the children to listen for a particular character or event in a story.




           Sorting and matching toys and games.


         Sequencing activities.


         Labelling of cubby hole boxes and other personal items with the child’s name.



         Story telling to individuals, following the story through the pages of a book -        pointing to the words as they are read if appropriate.


         Story telling to groups, following the story through the pages of a large book -     pointing to the words as they are read if appropriate.


         Labelling displays and other items in the nursery.


         Quiet room for free play with books.




           Sorting and matching toys and games.


         Sequencing activities.


         Free play with paper and writing equipment.


         Modelling with play-dough and clay.




         Dot-to-dot drawings.


         Pathway drawing activities.


Planning, recording and assessment


Topic planning takes place on a monthly or half-termly basis.  Activity planning occurs on a weekly or daily basis.  The topic planning and activity planning sheets used by the nursery are laid out to identify each of the seven areas of development. This ensures that communication, language and literacy is considered whenever a topic or activity is planned.


Staff are able to observe the children and records of such observations can be made on the children’s personal profile sheets.


Samples of the children’s work which relate to communication, language and literacy are kept as appropriate.


Assessment is carried out through a mixture of informal observation, interaction with the child, the use of the information on record sheets and discussion during regular staff meetings.  The information gathered during the assessment process is then used for future planning of activities for each child.


Information gained through recording and assessment will be shared with parents, other school staff and outside agencies as appropriate.