Speech and Language and Communication Development

Speech, language and communication skills are vital for all children. 

Without these skills they will not reach their full potential.  

We at Little Cubs Hythe/Palmarsh know that it is crucial to support children, and identify when they might be having difficulty.

 1 in 10 children have speech, language and communication needs, so we ensure that all team members understand how to better support children with these needs.

Let's Talk Makaton

Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills we need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication; everyday tasks such as learning at school, asking for food and drink, sorting out problems, making friends and having fun. These all rely on our ability to communicate with each other.

Makaton is a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.

With Makaton, children and adults can communicate straight away using signs and symbols. Many people then drop the signs or symbols naturally at their own pace, as they develop speech.

For those who have experienced the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Makaton really can help. Makaton takes away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Makaton uses signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate. Signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. This helps provide extra clues about what someone is saying. Using signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear. Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who cannot, or prefer not to sign.

Makaton is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual's needs and used at a level suitable for them. It can be used to:

share thoughts, choices and emotions

label real objects, pictures, photos and places

take part in games and songs

listen to, read and tell stories

create recipes, menus and shopping lists

write letters and messages

help people find their way around public buildings

Today over 100,000 children and adults, use Makaton symbols and signs. Most people start using Makaton as children then naturally stop using the signs and symbols as they no longer need them. However, some people will need to use Makaton for their whole lives.

Click here to take you to the Let's Talk Makaton website

Makaton Sign of the Week

We learn, practitioners and children, from the Core Vocabulary a Makaton sign a week, which is the starting point for everyone learning Makaton.  

This sign is also posted on our social media so that parents/carers can learn and use the sign with their children.

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Our Recent Work

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Makaton Signing in the Setting

We use Makaton signing in the setting as a matter of good practice and have always found this a very useful tool to help children express themselves and to be able to communicate their needs.

We Makaton sign the rules of the setting everyday too in registration. Some of the key words used repetitively helps communication skills.

Start to read the rules to your child and see if they sign or say the rules along with you! 😄

It goes like this:

  • We say good morning to everyone and they say good morning back. And then -
  • How many rules have we got? We’ve got 5!
  • Rule number 1 - no running around in nursery.
  • Rule number 2 - keep our hands and our feet to ourselves
  • Rule number 3 - listen to what your teachers are telling you
  • Rule number 4- remember to say please and thank you
  • Rule number 5 - always share with your friends
  • WooooHoooWooooHooo!!!!!
  • When the alarm sounds you STOP what you are doing and put your toys down.
  • You listen to what your teachers are telling you.
  • You line up at the door like a trainline Choo Choo!
  • Walk quietly to the yellow wall/pathway.
  • Stand still and listen for your name.

Video of the practitioners Makaton signing these rules to follow.

Language For Learning

At Little Cubs, Joy Summer is a trained Language for Learning specialist and helps to support the children in the setting who require additional help with their language acquisition.  Joy also support the child's key person in providing specific activities that encourage them to communicate effectively and works in partnership with parents/carers and SALT (Speech and Language Therapists) to provide a better start for children with communication needs.

Language for Learning training are all led by a speech & language therapist and a specialist teacher providing a dual perspective and specialist knowledge. They have been written for all those working in mainstream schools, including speech & language therapists and other outside agencies. All courses support theory into practice through reflective tasks and aim to develop use of strategies at a universal and a targeted level. All courses are mapped on to the Speech, Language & Communication Framework (SLCF) and meet a range of competencies at both a universal and enhanced level.  We also have access to materials to support strategy suggestions. 

Useful Links

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The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust is a coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations. Working together we support everyone who works with children and young people in England to support their speech, language and communication

Learn More


Sharing books with your child early can help create a lifelong reader. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Bookstart is here to guide you on your child’s reading journey from 0-5 years.

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I Can

I CAN is the children’s communication charity.

I CAN's mission is that no child should be left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.

Learn More

National Literacy Trust

We target our work in the communities that need help most, working with local partners to deliver place-based solutions. National Literacy Trust Hubs create long-term change in communities where low levels of literacy are entrenched, intergenerational and seriously impacting on people’s lives.

Learn More

Talking Point

Talking Point gives parents/carers and practitioners the information they need to help children develop their speech, language and communication skills. If a child has difficulty with speaking, they may need help. With the right help, they can develop the skills they need.

Learn More

The Bercow Report  

Ten Years On

Bercow – Ten Years On analyses the many changes that have taken place over the past decade, their implications for children and their families and make recommendations for future action. 

Learn More