Lift Off to Language
We are very pleased to be able to offer Lift Off to Language sessions here at The Saplings Preschool for children aged 2 years and 3-4 years. We have two staff who are purposely trained to run these sessions, Michelle Watts; our Deputy Preschool Leader and Chantelle Shulver.
Lift Off to Language for 2’s
Lift Off to Language for 2’s is specifically designed for the youngest children in our setting.
The second year in a child’s life is an extremely important one as their language development grows.
They go from speaking 50 or more words at the age of two, to at least 200 words and as many as 1000 words by the time they are three.
The Lift Off to Language sessions provide an opportunity to support language skills as well as supporting the children’s attention and listening, social interactions and turn taking skills.
The sessions run once a week for a half term with a group of 4-6 children. Activities are carefully planned using a variety of props suitable for 2 year olds. The whole session lasts no longer than 10-15 minutes. They are designed to be similar to the Lift Off to Language programme for 3-4 year olds, and they act as a transition but are shorter so that they are appropriate for the younger children.
Each session begins by welcoming the children into The Seedling Room and each child sits on a separate cushion in a small circle along with the practitioner. Firstly we introduce our mascot, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ to the children who stays throughout the session to act as a role model/helper within the group.
The first activity is ‘roll the ball’. This is an attention and listening game where the children are encouraged to use their ‘listening ears’ and practice turn taking by catching a rolled ball upon hearing their name sung in a rhyming song. The children are then encouraged to roll the ball back to the practitioner when prompted. The next activity varies on a weekly basis and includes props for that week, this could include scarfs, musical instruments and story books. The games are based around rhymes and simple concepts like ‘loud’ and ‘quiet’, ‘ready, steady, go’ and ‘I can hear’. All children are encouraged to take part and are praised throughout the session for their interactions.
After the activities have finished the children are invited to give Winnie the Pooh a hug who thanks them for listening. At the end of the session the children join in with our ‘Teddy Bear’ song along with Winnie the Pooh.
Lift Off to Language for 3-4’s
Our Lift Off to Language sessions for 3-4 year olds consist of 6 sessions every half term for 4-6 children, each session lasting around 25 minutes. The sessions involve fun activities that provide the opportunity to target children’s social interactions, confidence, turn taking and extend their language skills..
Children’s attention and listening skills
Children’s social awareness of others
Children’s confidence skills
Children’s ability to initiate and participate in conversations with peers
Children’s ability to follow instructions at a two or more word level
Breadth of vocabulary including verb prepositions and adjectives
Children’s ability to produce target speech sounds
Our sessions take place in The Seedling Room and consist of carefully planned, targeted games and activities to support the development of our children’s comprehension and expression of various concepts, ie; prepositions, opposites and categories of vocabulary like animals, everyday objects and vehicles.
The sessions begin by explaining the simple rules, which include ‘good listening’, ‘good thinking’ and ‘good talking’ using visual stars which are placed on our mascot ‘Winnie the Pooh’ for the session.
We then use a visual timetable and explain to the children the activities we are doing for that session, which include attention and listening games like ‘roll the ball’ and concept games and categorisation games using various props and resources.
Children are encouraged each session to join in conversations, talk about and share their own thoughts and experiences.
Each session ends with a ‘train song’ where the children are invited one by one to join a human train and sing our song. A favourite amongst our children!
Each session then ends with the children being invited to give Winnie the Pooh a hug who thanks them for listening and taking part.
Our Lift Off to Language sessions are offered to all children, regardless of ability. They incorporate a preventive as well as targeted approach to enhancing children’s communication and language skills, which is extremely important to us here at The Saplings Preschool.
Michelle has also recently become Communication Champion within the setting.