Case Studies

Case Study 1 – L Hampson Early Years Practitioner

What do you like about Sound-Train?

It is a very multisensory programme. ‘Sound-Train’ is easy to follow, the characters capture the children’s attention, and the ideas are fun to do. There is something for everyone. The actions for each character have really supported the children’s listening and attention, and enabled them to remember the character and their sound.

We like how you can fit the programme into every learning area so that language and speech sounds are developed through play. The ideas can be easily fitted into your planning, so we did not have to change our planning formats. Everything is there for you. We particularly liked the ‘Playing and Learning’ ideas in booklet 3. The children have enjoyed, for example. the baking activities linked to some of the characters.

The team have loved teaching it and the children have really enjoyed ‘playing’ with the characters.

How did you get started?

We used the story book first and introduced it to the children on a 1:1, pairs and/or in small groups. We used the picture cards and looked for the characters in the book. The children were very quick to pick up the actions for each character. Norman Nose was a popular character as the children could ‘feel the sound’ as they touched their nose.

The children enjoyed the rhyme ‘What a commotion, What a din, What a noisy train we’re in.’ The natural rhyme and rhythm of the words really helped those children who like to move as they give attention and learn.

We hid the character cards in the room and the children would hunt for them to match them into the book. Alongside this we introduced the listening and attention ideas to develop the children’s ability to tune into language so that they could hear the character name and sound.

Once the children had been introduced to the characters in the book, we then started following the different levels of listening categories. For example, we chose the games and activities to support Good Listeners. Alongside this we picked out the characters we were focusing on, from the ‘Playing and Learning’ activities and then weaved the language ideas into our provision. Following the different levels of listening e.g., ‘Starter, Good Listeners, Superhero Listeners’, was helpful to vary the activity to match the children’s needs.

Once we had worked our way through the story book characters, we then started to introduce the other characters. It just seemed to flow. We were led by the children. Having the resource picture cards allowed us to develop matching and posting games using the characters. We found that it did not matter if we introduced others in addition to the characters that we were specifically focusing on – we just followed the children’s interests. For example, Robbie Robot for the children was an extremely popular character and that led them to create their own ‘robot moves’ and ‘recycled robots’ out of different materials. Through this one activity language was being used to support planning and thinking skills and turn taking. The children and adults explored the speech sound ‘r’ through ‘play and exploration’ as they imagined how the robot would talk.

What changes have you noticed since implementing ‘Sound-train’?

We feel that we became more creative in how we planned for language and speech sound development in our room. The ideas were wonderful to get us started, but we are now following the children’s lead and linking the character sound through the children’s play. We became more aware of how we use language as we talk to the children. For example, we created ‘Poppy Peg’s Peach Pop Pear Pies’ recipe which is now in the programme to develop alliteration and to just allow the children to ‘play and explore’ speech sounds and words. Our own knowledge and understanding of how language develops increased. For example, remembering that listening and attention skills are really important for the children to be able tune into language and eventually be able to say words clearly encouraged us to consider this area more carefully in our practice.

The children demonstrated that they were becoming more aware of speech sounds and language through their learning and play. We noticed the children seeking out the characters, saying the name, and then hear the speech sound as they did the actions. We noticed that the children’s speech sounds became clearer.