One of the most important things you learn at school is how to communicate. Communication is about being able to talk to others, to tell what you have learned, to explain your ideas, to solve problems, to think clearly and logically and to listen. You can communicate in different ways: speaking, listening, through art work, through drama etc.

The oral language that children have acquired through interaction with their families and wider community before primary school age is built on by teachers in schools. Typically, by the age of primary school, a child can construct long and detailed sentences (“Yesterday my family went to the park but we had to come home early because Daddy said a storm was coming”; ” get down”).

A child on entering prep can tell a long, involved imaginative story sticking to the topic, and using “adult-like” grammar. ​With an expectation that children will have this level of expressive language skills, primary school teachers conduct specific class sessions focusing on listening, speaking, vocabulary development to further build oral language skills. Primary school curriculum focus on speaking skills because word meanings and understanding of sentence structures (syntax) is extended through talk and forms the basis of learning.

​This is why in each Grade of Primary school, there are classroom activities such as show and tell, plays, re-tell of events, debates, discussions and activities that draw on and expand expressive language skills. Without good communication skills, participation in this early learning environment may be compromised. Similarly, it is important to recognize that communication is a two way process. The ability to listen is vital in effective interpersonal communication and is linked to being sensitive and empathetic with others; however, some young children find it difficult to listen carefully.



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