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Language for life training

19 March 2010

Following the highly successful ‘Language for Life’ training launch last month, the Department for Education, Sport and Culture (ESC) is sponsoring training for all early years staff in both the private and states sectors for the week beginning 22 March 2010.

Ros Bayley, a much sought after trainer from the UK, who is also the author of several books, including ‘Foundations of Literacy’ and ‘Flying Start with Literacy’ - a book especially written for parents - will be leading the training.

ESC’s Early Years Adviser, Yasmine Thebault, said “There has been concern about the rise in the number of children starting school without being able to communicate to the expected level and the rise in identified speech and language difficulties. Many reasons have been put forward to explain this, including the fact that most families are leading more sedentary and indoor lifestyles and spending less time doing things together out of doors.”

200 practitioners have registered for the course which will be repeated throughout the week to enable the greatest participation amongst practitioners.

Ros Bayley will be training staff to capitalise from the wonderful outdoor environments. There is good evidence to show that some children, particularly boys, learn better outside. Motivation is the key to all learning. To stimulate the use and development of communication skills, children must first experience the desire to express their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

There is also more space to stretch, both physically and imaginatively. Often children who are shy and withdrawn will speak out in the outdoors. Many boys find their voice when they are engaged in more physical, active learning outdoors – issuing instructions in a large building project for example.

“Children learn best through activities and experiences that engage all the senses such as music, dance, water play, painting big pictures, moving water etc” said Mrs Thebault. “The ability to communicate is an essential life skill for all children and young people in the 21st century.

“We will take every opportunity, outdoors and indoors, to help our children to develop strong communication skills. The key to this is the skill of the staff who work with our children and the engagement of parents to ensure that we are all working together in partnership.”

She also emphasised the value of play. “Parents are very interested in what their children are learning at nursery and in reception classes. Early learning is the basis of all later learning and it is this playful approach to learning that will motivate children. It has to be a joyful experience.”

Ros Bayley will be visiting nurseries on Monday 22 March and will be training nursery and reception staff for the rest of the week. 

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