Key Factors to a Supportive Environment
Key factors that support speech, language and communication environment: Your room/setting layout – what does your physical environment look like? The noise level – are there quieter and noisier areas, planned times or activities. Evidence: There are two main rooms that are in use during morning and afternoon sessions, the classroom and larger hall area. The classroom has a book corner with a child’s size couch and soft cushions on the floor. This area is ideally for quiet time and reading. The rest of the classroom and large hall allows for noisy and more social activities.
Throughout the day there are planned adult lead activities, circle times, outdoor play, snack bar and lunch club. Which work on a rota based system. Quality of light – are play areas well lit for children to see ; communicate well with each other, see mouth movements, resources ; staff. Evidence: The classroom and main hall both allow for a substantial amount of natural light through large windows and also have more then one artificial light in either room. Space to move, expressively, with whole bodies, with and without speed
Evidence: The main hall area is a large open space with a substantial amount of room for children to move freely and expressively. This room is used for more active activities and also for when outdoor play is restricted due to poor weather conditions. The children will use this area to build train tracks, stack blocks, act out role plays and imaginary games, as well as group games such as duck duck goose and ring a ring a roses. The outdoor area is also set up in a way that allows for all types of movement. There is an large space for bikes and smalls cars, which is also used for obstacle courses and tents.
This is divided from the rest of the playground by log stumps that the children can also walk across. Resources and toys – is there a varied selection available for both indoor; outdoor play. Evidence: Within the classroom and hall there is a large variety of resources and toys to cater for all the children. For example; a home corner, roll play area, mark making area, play dough and sand/water trays, block building, music corner, small world toys, ICT area book corner. The outside area has a large storage cupboard which allows us to alternate what goes outside to create interest and excitement.
There is an outside book corner with bean bags and blankets, large wooden blocks for building, play house with kitchen and work bench, prams, bikes and large cars, balls, rackets, a table and chairs to encourage mark making, blackboard with chalk and a variety of playing apparatus’s. Staff – Involvement/roles – how does everyone interact with children to promote communication. Evidence: Most children attending the pre-school will have an all about me book, which their key person and any other staff member are allowed assess. It contains information and pictures on the child’s life including family, pets, friends, likes and dislikes.
The children also receive a settling in performer after two weeks of them attending the setting. Which goes over how they are doing and is sent home to their parents to read and comment on, then sent back in. This is kept in the child’s learning journey. The children are also given a chance to have their say on what they would like to do at pre-school, with the children’s planing board. Where any ideas that are given from the children are written on and then added to the planing in future sessions. We have a classroom rules board, illustrating the main rules of the setting. Which is positioned down low at the children’s eye level.
There is also a ‘how are you feeling today’ poster with photos and illustrations of different facial expressions, again at the children’s eye level. We also try to operate with a positive language approach when reminding children of rules, for example saying ‘walking feet and kind hands’ instead of ‘no running and don’t hit each other. ‘ Staff responsibilities – does a key person system operate to support your children? Evidence: A key person system is operational within the setting, each key person has on average 11 children under their care and are also responsible for the overall care of every child.
Observations are made on every child and logged in their learning journeys, which are kept in a locked cupboard. Planning daily routines – are there times of the day to support communication eg. greetings and goodbyes, toilet asking times? Small/large group and individual activities? Evidence: Our setting works on an rota based system, in which there are set times for snack bar, lunch club, tidy up times, free play, adult led activities, nappy changes, circle times and outdoor play. This helps the children and staff to get into a routine.
Who ever is responsible for nappy changes that day will also be reminding children to go to the toilet, both are logged in a daily folder. The children are welcomed in the mornings/afternoons and self register with name cards. At the end of both morning and afternoon sessions the story of the week is read and the children can give thanks in prayer. The children are then dismissed when their allocated parent/carer arrives. Training opportunities? Child Development, Safeguarding, Impairment, Activity intervention & awareness.
Evidence: All staff are given the opportunity to attend relevant training that is beneficial for the setting and themselves. I myself have already attended four training courses since joining in September 2012. Certificates given at the completion of the training days and are displayed on the wall inside the classrooms setting. We also have a weekly policy quiz, with a different quiz selected each week for staff to read through and then be tested on. 4. Parent & carer involvement – Evidence: The Pre-school welcomes parent and carer involvement within and outside of the setting, especially during the festive period.
We often have parent helpers for the day that provide us with an extra pare of hands. The pre-school also recently held a fundraising event at the local community center, where we saw an overabundance of support from parents/carers. How does the setting engage with parents to share activity ideas, rhymes, resources, books, event dates, news, parent’s language needs, knowledge; expertise Evidence: Each week parents and staff receive the ‘weekly update sheet’ via email, which provides information on the up and coming week.
This information consists of the theme of the week, number, letter sound and shape, story focus, our star of the week (child), important dates, resources needed for any activities planned, how they can support their child and a photo gallery of what their children have been up to in the previous week. Language itself – Identify the types of language/methods of communication used in the setting; facial, body, creative, expressive and behavioral. Evidence: At the entrance to the classroom there is a mood board on the wall with the phase ‘how do you feel today’.
The board displays a variety of facial expressions and words for the children to relate to and caters especially to children still developing their speech or children that have English as an additional language. We also have a mark making area with creative resources for the children to express themselves. Throughout the setting there are posters and images reminding the children of the pre-school rules, for example use kind hands, put hands up during circle time, line up in a straight line and two children at the I. T station. Additional Language-
Is there support within the setting for children with additional languages. Evidence: All resources accessible to the children are labelled with the relevant wording of the contents and a photo or picture to support visual aid. Around the main classroom we have numerals 1-10 in additional languages and greetings/farewells in multiple languages. When the children join the setting their parents/careers are asked if they speak any additional languages or if English isn’t their first spoken language. During circle times, we will often greet each child in an additional language.