The project aims to prepare a conceptual framework based on language-acquisition theory to promote language development in early childhood day-care facilities.

In 2005 – 06, we developed a theoretical framework with the aim of establishing systematic language and literacy activities within broader educational areas. Our approach looked at the nexus of social, cognitive, and linguistic development, in relation to the ways in which children act and think; our aim being to clarify the ways in which differential linguistic abilities – word meaning, syntactic ability and so on – develop over the ages of three to six years. We concluded that the level to which these abilities develop depends upon the availability of a stimulating environment; one in which a child’s curiosity and enjoyment of physical exercise may flourish.

Thus, our approach begins by viewing children, in their comprehensive development, as expressive personalities who are not merely capable of learning, but are positively eager to learn. Our theories are based on an initial in-depth analysis which we performed on the relative abilities of four key educational areas – music, physical education, sciences and media – to promote language development. For this purpose, these four areas were examined from the point of view of the development of linguistic abilities. Our approach aims to consider the many aspects that concern a child’s linguistic development and therefore looks at structural aspects such as the development of sounds, vocabulary and word meaning, and syntax, as well as functional aspects such as cognition and communication. In this context the long-term nature of the process of language acquisition in children was carefully taken into account.

We conclude that the development of these skills may find continuous encouragement in the context of these four educational areas. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, we considered a number of ways in which our results can be implemented in practical settings.
The basic framework developed during this phase of the project was published in July 2006. The results of the pilot phase, lasting two and a half years, are to be published in 2008 and will be directed at early childhood practitioners to support systematic language planning for children at the age of 3-6.