Thursday, 5 December 2013

Language Development

My littlest boy (now 20 months) is just beginning to put two words together and is able to communicate quite ably now with the rest of the family. He can follow instructions, and make known what he needs and wants. His brothers and I enjoy listening to what he is trying to say, and the boys are charmed and amazed at his emerging ability to communicate. Watching him, and spending so much time with him, I am struck by the importance of the primary carer - as a communication partner. For our littley, that person is me - and I understand his haltering speech. I am wondering how this works in a nursery setting? Maybe a child has a fantastic key worker who knows the child as well as a parent, perhaps even becoming the primary carer. Clearly, conversation and attention are key to developing language and communication. The delight at being understood, and to having his needs met because he is able to communicate clearly, is boosting our littley's confidence and helping him to develop his speech. Of course, he is fortunate to have close family around him all day to support him in this. I know that this is just not possible for all families. But it does make me wonder whether some problems with language development could be avoided if there was more investment in supporting parents and encouraging and enabling them to be with their children during these formative years.


  1. I'm sure you are right but I know a paediatrician whose first reaction to speech delay is to suggest that the child goes to nursery. Some of my children when to a good nursery while I was working and I noticed that their speech development didn't seem to fast when they spent part of their days in nursery as it was when they were with me all the time.

  2. That's interesting, Sarah. Nursery (the state) is often seen as the solution, but why not more time with / investment in parents / family? That's my point, really. Thanks for commenting. Nice to know someone reads what we send out into the ether! ;)

  3. Organic education: I enjoyed your piece about language formation. Once your child is school aged, are you intending to follow a structured school curriculum or more autonomous learning?
    I am a student writing a dissertation on home education. Would you be interested in being interviewed in person or via a questionnaire? I want to explore the different learning approaches that parents use and how this relates to their decision to home educate. Please contact me