From our earliest years, spoken language is our most complex and essential forms of communication. It underpins not only the development of reading and writing, but also how we interpret and interact with the world around us. At Aldrington, the skills of speaking and listening are explicitly taught, and children are given a wide range of opportunities to practise and develop confidence and competence. At all ages, children talk about their learning, discuss ideas, ask questions and negotiate with others so as to express and encounter a range of viewpoints.
For younger pupils, such opportunities include role play within the indoor and outdoor learning environments: in the ‘High Street’, children can explore language in contexts such as a doctor’s surgery, post office, building site, supermarket, home etc. There are also regular opportunities for children to bring in and talk about objects from home.
In Years 1 and 2, children can present about an object of importance to them while peers are taught to listen and ask relevant questions. As the class learn to listen and respond, the speaker learns both to present ideas and reply to such questions. As the children get older, such opportunities are extended with children preparing to speak to an audience using posters, models and ICT presentations as prompts. Spoken language is also developed through drama activities as children improvise, refine and rehearse scripts and learn to present these to an audience. Rehearsing ideas through role play and spoken language enables children to explore different genres, identify with characters and develop vocabulary: teachers often use this approach as preparation to improve the quality of written work.