The Luton Communication Friendly Setting Award

The development and use of speech, language and communication are at the heart of young children’s learning.

Children require good communication skills to access learning, make friends, participate in group activities and develop higher- level thinking skills. Children’s achievements are dependent on their ability to communicate effectively.

It is vitally important to ensure that we do everything that we can to help children become skilful and confident communicators. One of the most important things settings can do to help children develop their communication abilities is to make sure that they learn in a communication friendly environment.

The Luton ‘Communication Friendly Setting Award’ invites early years’ settings to reflect upon the environment that they are providing and to consider how these impacts on children’s learning and the development of their communication skills. Awards are made to settings that can demonstrate that all staff actively promote communication supportive practice.

This year we have ten early years’ settings participating in the award scheme; two schools and eight pre-schools. The ten settings involved in the scheme are reflecting upon the communication practice in their settings; identifying their strengths in relation to their environment, interactions, setting policies and procedures, and collecting evidence of this. Settings are considering their areas for development and making plans to address these, with support from the Talking Takes Off (TTO) team.

Participating settings have until May to complete their evidence portfolio, when they will be reviewed by the awarding panel. We are excited to think that this means at least 300 children are profiting from being exposed to the key messages about communication, promoted through the Communication Friendly Award.

Our four Flying Start Children’s Centre neighbourhoods are also participating in the award scheme. They are already offering Talking Takes Off groups as part of their timetabled activities and ensuring that the TTO messages are embedded in all services they offer. The children’s centre teams will start collecting and collating their evidence for the Luton ‘Communication Friendly Setting Award’ in April and aim to complete the award by October 2020.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Communication Friendly Award and how your setting may become involved, please contact Kay Gayle on kay.gayle@luton.gov.uk .

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