Languageland

St Bernadette's JNS Language Land (7)

One of the main focuses of the Blue Skies Initiative is to deliver a universal oral language strategy that will benefit children of all ages.
To advance the strategy Blue Skies brought Speech and Language Therapist Clare Kelliher on board to deliver the programme, train local teachers and highlight the importance of language for young children.
One of the programmes delivered and taught by Blue Skies is the fun, educational and child-friendly Languageland.
The ‘whole class language resource’ has been developed by Black Sheep Press as a way to provide support to school children who may have a speech and language delay.
Clare has been delivering the programme for more than 12 months and has worked with several schools in the Clondalkin area.
She explained the importance of a universal oral language strategy to improve outcomes for pupils from an early age.
Clare said: “The aim is to improve the oral language skills of children by providing teachers with training and practical materials they can incorporate into their current teaching practice. Teachers can then use ideas and materials to plan a modified lesson for children with speech and language needs.”
Demonstrating the Languageland activities and strategies through six ‘circle time’ sessions Clare talks the classroom teacher through the format and provides a copy of the resources needed to repeat the sessions – allowing the teacher to incorporate Languageland into their teaching plan.
Clare said: “Languageland is a very child friendly programme. The children quickly become engrossed in using their imaginations and singing songs.
“Teachers have reported that they struggle to support the oral language development of children with needs in their classroom. There is evidence that adapting this approach can improve children’s speech and language skills.”
Breeda Bonner, principal of St Bernadette’s JNS in Quarryvale, is full of praise for the programme and believes it significantly improves outcomes for children.
She said: “Having this help from the Speech Therapist is absolutely super because we have found that, even though we identify speech problems and an awful lot of them can be quite small and easily fixed, the longer the problem goes on for the child the more intractable it can become.
“The speech therapist helping this year has managed to overcome an awful lot of the issues and then refer parents on to the other services so it has made the transition fantastic.”
Languageland is one of several programmes currently being delivered as part of a universal oral language strategy – the aim of which is to benefit all children in preschools, schools and the community, as well as those with speech, language or communication needs.
For more information contact Clare Kelliher by email at ckelliher@archways.ie