Communication and Language: Speaking

10-30 mins
Written by

This training is intended to ensure that early years practitioners can:

  • raise the standards of their provision in Communication and Language: Speaking
  • show they are reflective practitioners who want to achieve high standards
  • be part of their setting’s self-evaluation process.
Session overview
Early years professional
Early years

Aims and outcomes

  • Participants know the early learning goal in relation to speaking.
  • Participants understand how to work with children to develop their capabilities in speaking.
  • Participants know how the physical environment and resources support children in developing their speaking skills.
  • Participants gain confidence in planning for this area of learning and development for children of different ages and stages.


20–30 mins


A PowerPoint presentation is included for you to use if you have a computer and a screen. If this is not possible, the instructions are all contained below.

You will also need a flip chart and pens.

Rationale and context

Speaking is one of the three aspects of communication and language, one of the three prime areas of learning in the EYFS. At the end of the EYFS in the Reception year at primary school children are expected to reach the following early learning goal.

‘Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.’

All staff need to be confident of their role in developing children’s understanding of this area of learning and development, whatever the age of the children they work with. It is important to remember that different approaches are appropriate for different ages of children and different children will progress in their understanding at different rates.

Bef​ore the training session

Read through the trainer notes in advance to make sure you are prepared to deliver the training session.

Ask participants to read through Handout 1 in advance and bring it with them to the training session. Make a note of any participants who have not completed the required reading for follow up afterwards [Slide 3].

Participants should also be familiar with your setting’s policies relating to teaching and learning and assessment.

Step 1 (5-10 mins)

[Slide 4] Ask participants to read the ‘Speaking’ early learning goal and think about what it means for them in practice.

Ask the participants to work in twos to think of three examples of activities to support children’s speaking which they do in practice, and to write them on post-it notes to share with the whole group.

Show the image of the children using tubing ‘telephones’ out of doors. [Slide 5].

Step 2 (10-15 mins)

Ask the participants to work in small groups of three or four – groups working with the under threes or three-fives - to answer the appropriate questions on the slide [Slide 6].

Under 3s

  • Do we feel we always give children enough time to express themselves?
  • Could we plan some more exciting activities that will stimulate talk?
  • Could we make better use of story time as an opportunity for speaking as well as for listening?
  • How well do we capitalise on mealtimes as social occasions when conversations happen?
  • Out of doors, are there interesting resources to play with and places to explore to enhance opportunities for speaking?


  • How well do we support bilingual children as they develop their skills in more than one language?
  • How well do we use conversations with children to help them organise their ideas and plan what they are going to do?
  • Could we make more opportunities for children to be reflective and to talk about what they have been doing?
  • Do we need to improve our strategies for monitoring individual children’s speaking?

Show the images of the two boys sharing their ideas on how to fit as many resources as possible into their cardboard box [Slide 7] and ask the participants to feed back their ideas to you. Record them on a flipchart.

Step 3 (5-10 mins)

Following on from their reading and the discussions they have had, ask the participants to work individually to plan an activity involving children speaking to use with the children they work with. [Slide 8].

After the training

  1. Give each participant a copy of Handout 3: Individual Action Plan for them to complete and return to you within a week [Slide 9].
  2. Ask participants to use Handout 4: Environment Audit to check how well they have arranged the indoor and outdoor spaces and resources to enhance opportunities to develop children’s speaking skills. Ask them to work with their colleagues to make a note of any changes which need to be made alongside resources which are missing or which need to be replaced. Collect in the completed environment audits for action [Slide 10].
  3. Handout 5: Links to other areas of the EYFS can be distributed to participants for their future reference.

What’s changed?

After participants have carried out their audits and action plans, you should ask them if they are doing anything different as a result of the training.

You could periodically make checks on their planning or through discussion to see if they have managed to sustain the change in practice

You could check to see whether or not there has been an acceleration of children’s progress towards the speaking early learning goal.

Download your certificate via My CPD Tracker

Follow the steps below to download your certificate of completion:

  1. If you haven't already, go to My CPD Tracker on your dashboard. If you don't see your CPD tracker click 'Customise Dashboard' and drag the module down. Click 'Done' once you have finished customising. 
  2. Open My CPD Tracker and select 'Add new CPD' and select 'Add training (self study)' or 'Add training (you to deliver)' if you have delivered this training to a group.
  3. Complete all fields and click 'Add activity'.
  4. If you have completed the training, go to 'Actions' to open your activity. Add a due date and tick both check boxes.
  5. You can now download your certificate via the 'Actions' button.