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Communication and Language

At Brackenhill, our youngest pupils recognise and develop the immense power of good communication skills for the future. As many of our pupils have English as an Additional Language (EAL), are New to English (NtE) and our school is made up of pupils that are refugees and asylum seekers, we ensure they are exposed to a language rich environment, allowing themes of learning to support them in language acquisition and expansion of vocabulary. This coupled with ensuring we consistently use the Talk for Writing & Scribble Club (Nursery) & Drawing Club (Reception) approach across EYs, alongside the WellComm speech and language toolkit, results in children making good progress in this area from their starting points by the end of the Reception year in preparation for Year 1.

For our non-verbal/pre-verbal pupils, adults adapt their communication to meet their needs. This may be by providing a commentary on what children are interested in or are doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added in. In this way, our staff are able to build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to the children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction texts, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, gives them the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from staff, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures. In Nursery, children focus on learning new words. This is then built on in Reception where Tier 2 vocabulary is explicitly taught in Literacy. Taught vocabulary is revisited throughout the year to support retention. 

It also important we mention that at Brackenhill, we understand and value that speaking more than one language has lots of advantages for children, and that children will learn English from a strong foundation in their home language. For this reason, we encourage families to use their home language for linguistic as well as cultural reasons. Children learning English will typically go through a quiet phase when they do not say very much and may then use words in both languages in the same sentence. EYFS staff communicate with parents about what language they speak at home, try and learn key words and celebrate multilingualism.

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