On Friday we had an accreditation visit from a team including Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists and a Depute Head of Centre from another EDC Nursery.
They were here to see how we had progressed with our journey towards becoming an Language and Communication Friendly Establishment.
To do this, staff received excellent training on language development in Early Years. We were given strategies to try using in our interactions with the children, in order to maximise the development of their language. It was really interesting – we had to give children time to think and time to answer, use less questioning and lots more “wondering” i.e. I wonder what would happen if……”. We also had to commentate on what children were doing, to model the language to them. We are all experienced staff, but we found these strategies tricky at first. Allowing silences in conversation did not come naturally to us! We observed each other and commented on our colleagues’ use of the Talk Strategies.
We were asked to look at our nursery environment and declutter the walls and label all our resources with pictures and labels, so the children can find things easily. We now use far more visual prompts in our communication, and also more gesture and facial expression. We introduced Chatterboxes, Story Bags and other resources to promote chat about nursery at home, and chat at home about nursery. We worked very closely with our LCFE mentors – Gail Hendry our Educational Psychologist and Jade Brooker, our link Speech and Language Therapist. They carried out our training and mentored us every step of the way. Gail and Jade were so supportive and encouraging – we would not have made it without them!
It has been a very worthwhile experience and we really feel that our communication skills have improved tremendously as a result of LCFE participation. All our staff worked very hard and everyone contributed to gaining our Accreditation- a fantastic team effort.
Our evidence folder is available in the office if anyone would like to see the story of our LCFE journey. There will be a brief presentation on it, at our Parents’ Information Evening on Thursday night.
We will be receiving a written accreditation report from our assessors and will put it on the blog immediately. Many thanks to all our parents who trialed story bags, chatterboxes and travelling pets. Your feedback has been amazing.
Caroline found us a really funny picture which was our motto during the whole experience- we are not sure which member of staff it reminded her of, but it could have been any of us!