The importance of speech and language development in early years
Speech and language development plays a critical role in a child’s social development, overall behaviour, literacy skills and the construction of their self-esteem. Speech and language are fundamental elements of our daily lives and are the tools we use to communicate and share our thoughts, ideas and emotions.
Speech and language development are especially important in the early years at it introduces children to the social world, allowing them to interact with others, form relationships and of course, learn. Child development does go beyond language development. However, a child’s capacity to use language effectively is a crucial feature of that development.
“The most intensive period of speech and language development for humans is during the first three (3) years of life, a period when the brain is developing and maturing” -TheCren
The first three years of a child's life are like a sponge - much is grasped. This is mainly because children absorb critical skills during these years and develop in a world that is rich with sounds, sights and language. Children and infants are in the vital age-group of speech and language development, meaning their brain is at its best state to learn essential skills and be exposed to language.
Newborns recognise their surrounding sounds in the first few days of their life. The tone of a parent's voice is one of the essential sounds for children as they recognise this and learn from the particular sounds they make. With this, parents and educators have a critical role in progressing children's speech and language development - it is like "monkey see, monkey do."
Children begin to make certain sounds as their speech mechanism and voice mature. These sounds will become apparent in the first few months of life.
- 6 months - sounds or repetitive syllables are common
- 12 months - simple words, may not know the meaning of the words
- 18 months - will usually be able to say 8-10 words
- 24 months - placing words together in sentences
- 3,4 and 5 years - child's vocabulary rapidly increases and begin to understand the rules of language
How do speech and language skills affect future development?
Speech and language skills are a fundamental part of a child’s early learning experiences. It can assist them throughout many different aspects of life, including:
School readiness: one of the most important measures of school readiness is being able to comprehend and communicate with others. Speech and language skills are critical for scaffolding a successful early learning experience for children.
- Adult outcomes: if children don’t develop key speech and language skills from a young age, it can affect their mental health and employment opportunities for the future.
What to do if a child’s speech appears to be delayed: activities to encourage their development
If you have concerns regarding your child's language and speech development, you may want to seek a speech pathologist or therapist. Engaging with a professional will allow for a prognosis of any disorders your child may have that may be limiting them to develop at their full potential. They will be able to assist you with your child's communication and overall development. These health professionals will be able to evaluate your child with particular speech and language tests helping you overcome any potential problems.
We will also outline some simple activities below on how to encourage speech and language development in the early years.
Simple activities to encourage speech and language development
It is important that you are a central part of your child's learning experience. Assisting them with particular activities and supporting them throughout their development is crucial. At Young Academics, we support each and every child’s speech and language needs, ensuring our programs are tailored to individual requirements.
Do you have questions surrounding your child's language and speech development?
Have a chat to our friendly team on 1300 668 993.