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This section will develop your understanding of the importance of speech, language and communication during the early years, and beyond. You will begin to recognise that language and communication form the basis for all the other areas of learning and development, and you will begin to understand that if these areas are not developed early, they are more difficult to achieve later.

You will build an awareness that some children’s speech, language and communication (SLC) development does not follow a typical pattern, and learn to recognise that they may have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) that may require support from agencies and services.

You will also begin to understand that there are inequalities between children’s environments and the interactions they have with adults in their early years, and that these can influence the development of speech, language and communication in early childhood.


Communication and language can help a child to develop the ability to share their needs, feelings, information and ideas. It also enables them to discover and make sense of the world around them.

By completing this activity, you will understand that communication and language development is one of the important building blocks for all the other areas of learning and development and if not developed early it is more difficult to achieve later. This area of development includes helping a child to understanding what other people are communicating, through speech, facial expressions, gestures, sounds and tone of voice.

Early Years Matters

Using the link above, read the short article from Early Years Matters about the different ways young children develop their language and communication skills.



Whilst you work through this section think about:

  • Why is language and communication an important part of development in early childhood?