Play is an essential park of healthy development. The exposure to play is not only essential for development in speech, language and communication but also provides development in other areas such as social, emotional and intellectual. As child care providers there are so many games we play which indirectly work on speech. Children don’t require to be in a structured environment to learn language. There are many benefits to playing games which focus on speech and language development which also help to work on the development of the child’s turn taking skills, social skills, listening skills and attention skills. All of which are beneficial skills for children to gain. To encourage children to learn we must make the activity fun and engaging to grasp and keep children’s attention. There are an array of different types of play which we use to help the development of speech in my own setting. When setting out toys we always bear in mind if they are age appropriate. Even our simplest toys like wooden blocks provide great foundations for fun development and learning opportunities. I often build towers with the children which allow me to use adjectives such as higher and up, verbs like build and fall down, prepositions like on top and finally nouns like numbers when counting the blocks. The children also learn to share, take turns and listen to instructions when taking part in this activity. We have a CD player within the nursery which we often play nursery rhymes on as well as signing nursery rhymes to the children individually and in a group. By singing in groups it helps to gain the children’s attention and experience a shared focus. Music is the foundation to communication. Speech includes rhyme in the form of syllable and melody in the form of intonations. Early language development is often supported through the signing of nursery rhymes. This is due to the repetitive nature of the song as well as the simplicity use of words. This makes its beneficial for children learning new key words it also supports language development due to the fun nature of nursery rhymes helping the child to engage. Nursery rhymes often also include actions which help the children to make links between the action and words used. Every term we set up a different role play scenario for the children, this could be a shop, vet or ice cream parlour for example. We do this to not only support our children in expanding their imagination but also their vocabulary. We often find that there are many names for objects that the children might not necessarily come across until we set up a role play area. For example last term we had a vet corner set up and had play syringes available for the children to play with, many of the children ask me what they were and what they were called. This allowed me to explain their purpose as well as letting the children know what they were called. The vet corner also opened up opportunities to use verbs such as lets carry the animals, lets wash the animals etc. We use a lot of books to help encourage understanding and speech. The books often consist of big colourful pictures of things like, colours, food and vehicles. By looking through these types of books we are widening the children’s vocabulary and helping them to learn the meanings of words. The concept of play is also introduce when a child within my setting is receiving intervention to help support them with their speech and language. We do this by making their interventions fun. For example we have a boy who is interested in lego therefore when we are doing an activity like letter sound recognition we will have two piles of Lego every time he gets the sound correct he can add a piece of Lego to his tower, and when its incorrect I would put a piece on my tower, we then try to get the highest tower. This approach grasps the boys attention and helps keep him engaged. Focusing on his interests makes the task fun.
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