The power of the ‘talk sofa’

abc doesEnvironment, Talk6 Comments


Was not in my school today, I was in another one making a second visit following an initial audit before the Summer break.

Every day is a school day though as my discussions with Sandy, Janette, Marie and the team really helped to crystallise some thoughts that I have been having about point of entry assessment – thanks ladies!

Have texted my TA's to see how the day went but have had no response – I am viewing that as a positive. At least that is what I keep telling myself!

Am taking a letter in tomorrow for the children from Betty – she is coming in next week to kick off our talk sofa. They will love her and she will certainly give them something to talk about. I will post some photos on Monday.

So what is a talk sofa I hear you cry! Well it is a designated space for talk in your setting. It is not a lie down when you are feeling ill and wait for your mummy sofa, or one of those small door wedge sofas that you can wipe clean (Ewwwwh!)

It is a link to the home environment where children and adults go for structured talk sessions based on identified need.

The first lot of talk starts with the sofa itself. It should be covered in throws and cushions that have texture and can also be scented (stuffed with lavender, cinnamon, vanilla etc..) I get the children to kick off their shoes and tuck their legs up and talk about what they see and feel. The adult models speech and sentence structure and the children follow. ' I like this cushion because….. ' What you are doing here is embedding patterns of language that will impact on children's everyday speech and eventually writing.

Here is ours at the moment…the colour scheme and the banner at the back are the work of my TA's. The nets were £3.99 (ish) from IKEA and the curtain poles were 99p!

DSC03256It's moved on even since this photograph was taken – we have added more objects to the space to get children talking – unfortunately taste and coordinators often have to go out of the window at the expense of interest!

Here is what we have put on the sofa…

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Lots to touch, feel and talk about .

Once you have discussed what is on the sofa you start to hide small and interesting objects in and around it. Let your imagination run wild – vintage keys,  photographs…African fertility doll – it has been done!

Take pictures of the children handling and talking about their objects and display them in the talk area and they can talk about them!

Fee has also made me a ' talk box '

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As with the theme of the talk space, there is lots to talk about on the outside of the box and pegs to peg interesting items onto it and then you can put something interesting inside it. I have been saving a dead bumble bee that I found in Fee's workshop for just such an occasion!

I am getting her to make me another one so that I can have a ' whispering box ' a ' shouting box '

Will post the sofa in action as it happens (along with the lumpy wallpaper!)

Back to see the ' cherubs ' tomorrow morning and then Southport in the afternoon to do a key speech at a Deputy Head's conference. Am talking about how you can judge good practice in ' the bag of maggots ' that is an Early Years setting!

Easy if you know what you are looking for…



6 Comments on “The power of the ‘talk sofa’”

  1. Hi Alistair
    Have you posted any sofa talk plans? Maybe I misssed them? I’ve ordered our sofa today, can’t wait for it to arrive.
    Thanks Nicky.
    (Will also stick some talk sofa planning up next week for you to have a look at 9remind me if I forget!)

  2. I’m so glad that I found your blog, I must admit that I’ll be pinching a few ideas from you, thank you Nicky.

  3. Love this blog-am planning a new early years setting and using lots of your ideas.Music making area?

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