Next steps

ERO recommends that leaders and teachers in early learning services and schools:

  • use resources such as Effective School Evaluation: how to do and use internal evaluation for improvement4 and those about teaching as inquiry5 to evaluate the extent to which their curriculum strengthens oral language learning and provides evidence of children’s progress and achievement
  • make better use of existing resources, such as Much More Than Words6 and Learning Through Talk7 to promote and support children’s oral language learning
  • use assessment approaches and tools, based on shared understandings and expectations for oral language learning, to notice, recognise and respond to the linguistic strengths and needs of all learners
  • offer rich, broad learning opportunities to support children’s oral language learning and enable them to develop oral language capabilities foundational to their learning across the curriculum.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education develops a more coherent and systematic set of curriculum expectations, assessment tools and resources for oral language in the early years (0-8 years) to support children’s learning across the curriculum.

This report is structured as follows:

Introduction – Why responsive oral language teaching and learning is important gives an overview of the guidance available to early learning services and schools to support oral language teaching and learning. It includes a summary of some of the key research evidence about the importance of oral language learning and development in the early years.

Responding to linguistically diverse learners provides a snapshot of recent findings from ERO’s evaluation looking at language diversity in early learning services and schools in Auckland.

ERO’s findings in services and schools provides an overview of the key findings.

Oral language learning and development: birth to eight years of age ERO’s findings, particularly in relation to what well-focused early learning services and schools were doing to support children’s oral language learning and development, described and presented in a way that shows a learner pathway from infancy through to eight years of age.





6        Ministry of Education. (2011). Much More Than Words. Wellington: The  Ministry.

7        Ministry of Education. (2009). Learning Through Talk: Oral Language in Years 1 to 3. Wellington: The Ministry.