Evidence for Learning’s Early Childhood Education Toolkit shows that communication and language approaches consistently show positive benefits for young children’s learning. Oral language acquisition is important because it gives children a platform to communicate effectively. It predicts children’s success in formal classroom settings and life trajectories more broadly.1
That’s why we commissioned the development of oral language resources from the University of Queensland. These three tip sheets – free to download -- are based on a systematic review of the Australasian literature and provide evidence-informed strategies to support rich conversations with young learners.
Tip Sheet 1: Creating spaces for children’s talk
Oral language is the way children communicate their views, learn to understand others, and make discoveries. Educators can support and enhance children’s oral language by engaging “in sustained communication with children about ideas and experiences” (Early Years Learning Framework). This tip sheet provides evidence-informed strategies to create opportunities for children’s talk in early childhood education and care settings for children aged 2-5 years.
Creating spaces for children’s talk (PDF, 257)
Tip Sheet 2: Curious about questions?
Oral language is embedded across the Early Years Learning Framework and is central to educator's work. Asking questions is a common approach to prompting children’s talk and participation in conversations, however not all questions are equal. This tip sheet explains question qualities and describes what you can do when the questions you ask are ‘tricky’ for children aged 2-5 years.
Curious About Questions? (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Tip Sheet 3: Keeping the conversation going
When a child is an active participant in shared, extended conversations, they take more opportunities to talk, their talk is more complex, and educators provide a positive model for oral language use. Oral language is embedded across the Early Years Learning Framework and is central to educator's work. This tip sheet provides educators with evidence-informed strategies to sustain and extend conversations with children aged 2-5 years.
Keeping the conversation going (PDF, 264 KB)
Webinar: In March 2020, Evidence for Learning held a webinar with the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland. The webinar discusses evidence-informed ways that educators can support the development of critical oral language skills for young children and includes interactive activities. A recording is below. (53:13).
Evidence for Learning would like to acknowledge Professor Karen Thorpe, Dr Sally Staton and Dr Sandy Houen from the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) at the University of Queensland for their work on these oral language resources. We also thank the other early childhood education researchers and educators who provided input to these resources.