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Communication Friendly Environments

 A learning environment that supports language and communication has a wide range of benefits for everyone!

Good universal provision starts with adjusting the environment to reduce or remove barriers to enable all learners to develop their social, emotional and learning potential. Consideration must be given to:

  • The way in which adults interact and communicate with children
  • The physical environment
  • Visual support
  • Careful planning.

Effective strategies for supporting children should be known by all staff, including lunch-time supervisors and office staff. There should be a consistency of approach across the whole setting/school to avoid confusion for the child. 

Communication Friendly Environment audit tools

Audit tools can be used either by individuals as an evaluation of their own inclusive practice or by Senior Management as part of focused observations.

 What would you expect to see in a communication friendly environment?

The following audit tools describe features and strategies that will support all children and particularly those with SLCN. The 'Summary of Community Friendly Environment Audit' form provides an opportunity to record what is being done already, what might be done next as well as any outcomes of changes which are made.

Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS)

The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS) (External Website) is an internationally recognised tool which enables Early Years settings to evaluate their environment and provision, and to identify clear steps for development in order to improve outcomes for children. 

Originally designed in America, ECERS was the tool used in the UK national research study, the 'Effective Provision of Pre-school Education' (EPPE) Project which studied the progress and development of 3,000 children from different types of Early Years settings. The EPPE findings demonstrated a correlation between the quality of provision, as measured by ECERS, and children's development and future achievement.

Settings can make a difference by integrating good language models to stimulate children in their development. This will include using a range of activities including:

  • Providing a good environment for listening and attention
  • Adults talking and listening to children
  • Imaginative use of play and toy resources
  • Activities with music, song and rhyme
  • Storytelling and reading books
  • Following and using the child's interests.

© Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire PCT 2011.

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This page was last reviewed 17 May 2013 at 13:41.
The page is next due for review 13 November 2014.