The aim of this paper is to determine

The aim of this paper is to determine why the development of communication in early years is important. “As one of the major developmental tasks in early childhood, learning to communicate is key for children to interact with the persons in their world and to have their needs met.” (Gooden et al., 2013, p.1) As stated the development in communication in early years is the foundation to giving any young person the ability to interact and express their needs others.
Communication in young children is a stepping stone to begin to build relationships, ability to express their feelings, explain and share their ideas and their knowledge. Communication occurs in a variety of ways, the most distinct being verbal communication, most communication especially within early years comes across as non-verbal this can be through; using gestures, body language, expression in voice tone, emotions and facial expressions. “Nonverbal cues give information about a child’s emotional intensity and nuance, and provide meaning and context.” (Mandal and Ambady, 2004, pp.23 – 34) Mandal and Ambady have highlighted the vital importance of a child being able to begin communicating, this shows how non verbal communication can be a powerful tool to young people in the early stages of communication.
To understand the importance of communication in early years, first it is important to look at the development of communication skills and language. Communication begins at birth between the mother/primary caregiver and baby. Baby has to try to show their needs to have them met by maintaining interaction with mother/primary caregiver. “Communicates needs and feelings in a variety of ways including crying, gurgling, babbling and squealing.” (Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage(EYFS), 2018, p.19). As guided in the ‘Early years foundation stage’ one of the very first stages of communication in babies is attempted vocally through such ways as crying. Ideally the caregiver will respond to these in a manner that is positive and this then begins the foundational steps towards baby understanding effective ways for two-way pre-language communication. “Attentive caregivers, who respond to these early communication attempts, encourage infants to continue to explore language use” (Nixon & Gould, 1999, p. 85) Responding in ways that involve smiling back or responding to sounds, cries and gestures this encourages the baby to interact, thus beginning the early years steps on the development to begin communicating.
Language is the key to learning “It is the means by which teachers teach and children learn.” (All together now, (no date), p.7) This meaning without the development of communication this limits the capability to progress further in other aspects of learning. “Poor language predicts poor literacy skills and, without the right help, between 50% and 90% of children with persistent communication needs go on to have reading difficulties.” (All together now, (no date), pp.8).
Literacy skills are linked here with communication, this shows us that without the successful development of communication in early years can then progress on to difficulty in Literacy areas when moving up in education. Early year environments play a large role in supporting the development in communication. Practitioners assist the development of communication by responding to the children, giving encouragement to communicate their needs further with themselves or other children and through play. Environments set out for young children give them the opportunity to explore their communication further, learn new ways to that successfully get their needs met and start to build friendships with others. “Young children learn and develop best and to their fullest potential when they experience consistent approaches.” Peyton (2017, pp. 123 – 125) explains here the importance of consistency with early years children, by having a consistent level of communication with the child they are gaining a role model and giving the guidance of how successful communicating is delivered and received. This helps support them with things like boundaries, discipline and manners. All of which are critical parts of learning as they transition through their life.
In conclusion this paper reiterates the significance and effectiveness of developing good communication in early years. Good development in communicational skills in early years gives children the building blocks to be able to vocalise their needs, build friendships and widen their education. It also helps support aspects they will continue to progress on to throughout life following rules and boundaries, social skills and the ability to continue learning. “Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is now more focused, having made ‘communication and language’ one of the three prime areas of learning, with the practitioner’s role to provide ‘opportunities to experience a rich language environment” ( bain et al.,2015 p.2) This summarises communication and language being of big importance in those early stages by placing it in the curriculum as one of the three prime areas along side their personal, social and emotional development and their physical development. As evidence shows throughout this paper, communication in early years will always remain as highly important part in early years development.
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