Speech and Language Development

Speech and language can be difficult for some children, but we are here to support them as best as we can.

Each child develops in their own way, at different rates, especially when it comes to their speech and language. Your child may need extra help, or may have difficulty developing their communication skills and we are here to support them as best as we can. 

Babies first start recognising and listening to voices before they are born, and from birth they learn by looking at their parents. By age 3, children start learning words and forming most speech sounds and around 5 years, they will start to engage in conversation, use complex sentences and describe their imagination. 

At Green Roots, we will support every child to develop the following skills:

  • Learn how to understand words, sentences and conversation
  • Learn how to talk with words and sentences, also known as “expressive language”
  • Say sounds correctly so that they will be understood by others
  • Know how to use their language in a social setting, also referred to as “pragmatic language”, by listening, talking and communicating differently depending on their relationship to the person they’re talking to. 

At Green Roots, we support each child’s individual needs to help them learn and grow, and recognise that speech and language development takes place during all activities, both indoors and outdoors. 

A fantastic source of information can be found at ICAN’s Talking Point.


We teach children the Makaton Learning Programme, which consists of signs and gestures based on BSL (British Sign Language). Makaton differs to BSL, in that gestures are used throughout speech in grammatical word order, so that children can express themselves when they cannot form words just yet. 

Makaton has risen in popularity on TV and in social media. In 1991, the Makaton Charity produced a video/ DVD of children’s nursery rhymes that were signed, spoken and sung by a well-known TV presenter. These nursery rhymes were not only enjoyed by children with developmental disabilities, but also by their peers and siblings. It is now a significant part of the BBC’s Cbeebies “Something Special” programmes.

Makaton is a great way for children with speech difficulty to learn how to express themselves. The Makaton Charity also offers free downloadable resources, which you can access here for your children at home. 

Stories with Symbols

A speech and language therapist has created a series of videos of story times for parents to use at home, using symbols to support children’s language development. The Stories with Symbols already have a range of stories that young children love and more will be added over the coming weeks.

Speech & Language Activities for all:

Parents often ask how they can help their child with their speech and language skills whilst at home, and below we have outlined some guidance which we hope everyone will find useful. 

  1. Learning Songs and Rhymes

Learning songs and rhymes are a great way for children to develop their speech skills by listening to a repetitive catchy tune. It can also help them with reading and seeing the words displayed. 

  1. Telling Stories

By telling stories, children can start to use words to help explain stories that they make up in their imagination. We recommend asking 1 question in every 10 comments that is more of a thought question instead of a direct question. Asking a thought question such as, “I wonder who this is?” will allow them time to respond and will also not make them feel too pressured to talk.

  1. Describing Emotions

Expressing emotions will allow children to begin to form words and sentences to describe how they are feeling, which will aid their communication skills. Some ways to help children speak about their emotions are through play with dolls by developing a character’s personality, thoughts and feelings or even talking about family and how it feels when they are around a family member they love. 

  1. Following Instructions 

Following instructions for things like brushing teeth, getting dressed or cleaning up toys allow children to pay attention to you while you explain a task. When they then carry out the action and follow your instruction, they are learning to understand and better develop their communication skills. 

The best way to help your child with their communication skills is by talking, listening and playing with them so that they can learn from you. Here at Green Roots, we do our best to work with parents so that we can provide exactly the right support for your child and aid their development during this exciting time.

Read our other blog posts here.

Connect with us on social media