Following instructions


We aim for all children to participate in activities which help them develop good communication and language skills.  We support children’s listening and speaking skills and aim for them to gain a sound understanding of language. We use the following base for our curriculum and plan activities according to your child’s developmental stage and interests.

Communication and Language

Listening and Attention

8-20 months

  • Moves whole bodies to sounds they enjoy, such as music or a regular beat.
  • Has a strong exploratory impulse.
  • Concentrates intently on an object or activity of own choosing for short periods.
  • Pays attention to dominant stimulus – easily distracted by noises or other people talking

16-26 months

  • Listens to and enjoys rhythmic patterns in rhymes and stories
  • Enjoys rhymes and demonstrates listening by trying to join in with actions or vocalisations.
  • Rigid attention – may appear not to hear.

22-36 months

  • Listens with interest to the noises adults make when they read stories
  • Recognises and responds to many familiar sounds, e.g. turning to a knock on the door, looking at or going to the door
  • Shows interest in play with sounds, songs and rhymes
  • Single channelled attention.  Can shift to a different task if attention fully obtained – using child’s name helps focus

30-50 months

  • Listens to others one to one or in small groups, when conversation interests them
  • Listens to stories with increasing attention and recall
  • Joins in with repeated refrains and anticipates key eventand phrases in rhymes and stories
  • Focusing attention – still listen or do, but can shift own attention
  • Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity)


40-60+ months

  • Maintains attention, concentrates and sits quietly during appropriate activity
  • Two-channelled attention  – can listen and do for short span

 Communication and Language


8-20 months


Developing the ability to follow others’ body language, including pointing and gesture.
Responds to the different things said when in a familiar context with a special person (e.g. ‘Where’s Mummy?’,

‘Where’s your nose?’).

Understanding of single words in context is developing, e.g. ‘cup’, ‘milk’, ‘daddy’.
16-26 months


Selects familiar objects by name and will go and find objects when asked, or identify objects from a group.
Understands simple sentences (e.g. ‘Throw the ball.’)
22-36 months Identifies action words by pointing to the right picture, e.g. ‘Who’s jumping?’
Understands more complex sentences, e.g. ‘Put your toys away and then we’ll read a book’
Understands ‘who’, ‘what’, where’ in simple questions (e.g. Who’s that/can? What’s that? Where is?)
Developing understanding of simple concepts (e.g. big/little).
30-50 months



Understands use of objects (e.g. ‘What do we use to cut things?’)
Shows understanding of prepositions such as ‘under’, ‘on top’, ‘behind’ by carrying out an action or selecting correct picture.
Responds to simple instructions, e.g. to get or put away an object
Beginning to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions
40-60+ months Responds to instructions involving a two-part sequence. Understands humour, e.g. nonsense rhymes, jokes
Able to follow a story without pictures or props
Listens and responds to ideas expressed by others in conversation or discussion

8-20 months
Uses sounds in play, e.g. ‘brrrm’ for toy car.
Uses single words.
Frequently imitates words and sounds.
Enjoys babbling and increasingly experiments with using sounds and words to communicate for a range of purposes (e.g. teddy, more, no, bye-bye.)
Uses pointing with eye gaze to make requests, and to share an interest.
Creates personal words as they begin to develop language.
16-26 months Copies familiar expressions, e.g. ‘Oh dear’, ‘All gone’.
Beginning to put two words together (e.g. ‘want ball’, ‘more juice’).
Uses different types of everyday words (nouns, verbs and adjectives, e.g. banana, go, sleep, hot).
Beginning to ask simple questions.
Beginning to talk about people and things that are not present.
22-36 months Uses language as a powerful means of widening contacts.  Sharing feelings, experiences and thoughts
Holds a conversation, jumping from topic to topic
Learns new words very rapidly and is able to use them in communicating
Uses gestures sometimes with limited talk, e.g. reaches toward toy, saying ‘I have it’
Uses a variety of questions (e.g. what, where, who)
Uses simple sentences (e.g. ‘Mummy gonna work’)
Beginning to use word endings (e.g. going, cats).
30-50 months



Beginning to use more complex sentences to link thoughts (e.g. using and, because)
Can retell a simple past event in correct order (e.g. went down slide, hurt finger)
Uses talk to connect ideas, explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next, recall a relive past experiences
Questions why things happen and gives explanations.  Asks e.g. who, what, when, how
Uses a range of tenses (e.g. play, playing, will play, played)
Uses intonation, rhythm and phrasing to make the meaning clear to others
Uses vocabulary focused on objects and people that are of particular importance to them
Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences
Uses talk in pretending that objects stand for something else in play e.g. ‘This box is my castle’
40-60+ months Extends vocabulary, especially by grouping and naming, exploring the meaning and sounds of new words
Uses language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences in play situations
Links statements and sticks to a main theme of intention
Uses talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events
Introduces a storyline or narrative into their play

At some point throughout the year your child will take part in a series of sessions called BLAST.  This takes place over a series of weeks and encourages children’s speaking, listening, language and communication skills.  We have found this to be highly successful for ALL children.

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