Aimee Cooper, Head of Business Development at Little Hands Daycare, has just finished supporting her setting through the Elklan Communication Friendly Setting award as a Mentor Champion for the Early Year Professional Development Programme (EYPDP).
Aimee reflects on how the course has benefited the setting and how they plan to continue using the strategies learnt throughout the accreditation in this wonderful blog on Little Hands Daycare website and has kindly allowed us to share it with you here.
Communication and Language is one of the three prime areas of learning within the Development Matters and the Early Years Foundation Stage. Under section 4 of the Development Matters (2021) to introduce Communication and Language states that “The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial.”
At Little Hands and throughout the Early Years sector, this could not be agreed with more. Little Hands invests a lot of time into studying this area, training our whole team and evaluating our practice to ensure it has the optimal impact on each and every child that spends time here. Furthermore, it is imperative that we also have a positive impact on the families of those children; to better support development of Communication and Language skills within the home environment and beyond. Every child deserves access to learning and this is made exponentially easier if they have ever growing communicative abilities to do so.
Recently, Little Hands have been involved with the Early Years Development Programme (EYPDP) funded through the Department for Education to increase the knowledge and quality of practitioners throughout the sector on a national level. This initiative began in 2019 and Little Hands have been actively engaged and learning more specifically in relation to Communication and Language since then. In 2021 and 2022 our Amblecote and Stourbridge branches both received a Communication Friendly Setting accreditation through Elklan. Elklan “are the national leaders in training education providers” (Elklan.co.uk) and have worked alongside the EYPDP to provide incredibly high quality learning opportunities for our team members and also to support in the achievement and assessment of the Communication Friendly Setting accreditation.
We are beyond proud to have received this accreditation and what’s more, we have truly seen the benefits. Our tracking and assessment of children in relation to their speaking and understanding skills shows that where children need more support, they are not falling behind. Children are thriving and accessing the additional six areas of learning and development at a higher rate thanks to their increased communication and language skills. Our team is able to swiftly identify any gaps in learning and know the correct support to put in place without delay. The Communication Friendly Setting accreditation took place over 5 sessions for each of our branches, including practical and theoretical support to extend our team’s knowledge and also to reinforce where our practice is already exceptionally high. At the end of these sessions, an audit was carried out by an external setting which assessed that each setting is in fact ‘Communication Friendly’ and provides the best possible opportunities and outcomes for children in relation to their Communication and Language development.
Little Hands are dedicated to a long-term commitment with this accreditation and have already begun to plan professional development opportunities for any new team members that join us without this previous knowledge. This will ensure consistency across our staff teams and continued success in learning and development. As always, sharing knowledge with families is a large part of our mission and teams regularly share their practice through our social media channels (@littlehandssocial), this blog, children’s observations, home learning opportunities and within our workshops. However, if you would like to know more about Communication Friendly Settings or any other aspect of learning for your child; please don’t hesitate to reach out to our teams.