The Hello campaign aims to increase our awareness and understanding of communication and how to best develop it. A child's environment can be crucial. See www.hello.org.uk for further information. The following is their guidance on what to consider to optimise the environment.
Elements to consider:
- Space, light and layout
Is there good light, with a comfortable temperature and not too many visual distractions
- Noise levels
Are noise levels conducive to learning – what can be done to minimise necessary noise?
- Use of visual support, this may include
- A colour coded map of school or setting , colour-coded directions, photographs of staff members,photographs/ symbols used to support routines, e.g. washing hands, getting ready for PE
- Visual timetables used for daily / weekly activities
- Objects, pictures and symbols used to teach vocabulary, to make stories more active and support engagement in other lessons
- Displays are used throughout school or setting to support learning
- Adults who can prioritise communication, this may include adults who
- Have knowledge of language development.
- Understand the language levels of the children and the language demands in the environment.
- Can adapt their language so it is not a barrier to learning or communication.
- Give children strategies to say when they don’t understand
- Are children aware of rules and expectations?
- Do they know daily routines; could these be supported visually?
- Are children given opportunities within lessons to say when they don’t understand?
- Are they explicitly taught how to listen, how to work together in groups?
- Are there opportunities for children to interact and use language in different situations, with different people at an appropriate level?