Original Policy Paper
Solvason, C., Kohlman H., Snowden, M. & Morris, C. (2016). A whole school approach to language development in the early years: professional development in action. NZ Research in ECE Journal, Special Issue: Equality and Diversity, 19, 32 - 45.
A whole school approach to language development in the early years: professional development in action
Carla Solvason*, Heidi Kohlman, Mike Snowden** and Claire Morris
*University of Worcester
**North Town Primary School
This article presents findings from a staged evaluation of a three year longitudinal research project, now at the end of its second year, undertaken by the University of Worcester in collaboration with North Town Primary School, situated in Southern England. It uses an action research approach to foreground intervention strategies used to support children entering school with speech and language delay. Data collection took an interpretivist approach, acknowledging the diverse range of variables present in a child’s life, and sought to focus upon the lived experience of practitioners supporting children’s language development within the study school. The following paper reflects upon the impact of the project so far. It indicates a shift in culture at the school, with a greater emphasis and value being placed upon tools to support children’s language enrichment, recognizing the impact that these can have on a child’s confidence and independence. Conversely it also identifies some fundamental issues which remain; the most concerning being that the skills needed to support the development of children’s speech and language remain lacking within initial teacher training. It highlights the necessity for professional development within speech, language and communication to be fully acknowledged at policy level if we are to adequately cater for the needs of our children, especially those who are most vulnerable.
Key words: Communication; collaboration; longitudinal study; action research; early years.
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