Communication and language

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By Hilary White
Original article published 9 June 2016

Communication and language is one of the three EYFS prime areas of learning for a very good reason. Language is the glue that holds us all together and enables us to think, question, make our needs known and interact with other people. It is therefore essential to promote communication and language skills in your children.

Communication and language

The EYFS framework divides Communication and Language into ‘Listening, attention and understanding’ and ‘Speaking’. Although such divisions help practitioners with planning and assessment, do remember that any activity that supports the child’s learning and development within one category will also be helping the other.

For each of the categories below, a pack of planning sheets has been provided for the activities. Each pack contains links to Development Matters, relevant Early Learning Goals and additional best-practice and observation notes. Just click on the images of the sheets to download them.


The Sounds of Silence

Sounds of silence

This activity encourages children to sit quietly, listen carefully and focus on what is going on around them.

What to do: Make sure the children are sitting comfortably. Ask them to stay as still and quiet as possible, and encourage them to listen out for any sounds they can hear. Keep the listening sessions short – 10 to 15 seconds at a time. At the end of each session, talk about the sounds they heard. What might have made the sounds and can they imitate them? What onomatopoeic words can you come up with to label the sounds (crash, ping, crunch, plop, crackle, rumble, bong)? Which are their favourite and least favourite sounds? How did the different sounds make them feel? Add variety to the sounds by asking an assistant or other children to stand away from the group and make noises such as playing the piano, clapping, laughing or pouring water.

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