Key findings: early learning services

In order to support oral language learning and development, leaders and teachers in early learning services need to know how children’s oral language develops, recognise the fundamental ways the curriculum can promote rich oral language learning and use deliberate teaching strategies.

Professional and pedagogical leadership was critical in building the capability and capacity of teachers to promote and support children’s oral language learning and development. In the services that were strongly focused on supporting children’s learning:

  • teachers had in-depth knowledge of every child and a shared understanding of, and expectations for, their oral language learning and development
  • leaders and teachers worked in partnership with parents and whānau, and with external agencies and specialist support where necessary
  • their curriculum was highly supportive of children’s oral language learning and development
  • evaluation, inquiry and monitoring processes were driven by the need to promote and support children’s oral language learning and development.

Improvements were needed in many early learning services to support oral language learning and development. These included:

  • leadership capability to support teachers to design and implement a curriculum that:
      • gives priority to oral language and recognises oral language as an integral part of early literacy learning
      • is based on a shared and explicit understanding of children’s oral language development
      • includes deliberate teaching strategies to support all learners, making children’s oral language learning and development visible in assessment information
  • evaluating the impact of practices and strategies on improving oral language outcomes
  • capitalising on ‘home languages’ as a foundation for other language learning
  • being prompt and proactive where concerns are identified about children’s oral language learning and development.