Reception Attention and Listening

What is it?

Good listening skills are important for being able to join in with activities and interacting with others.
The development of listening and attention skills is essential to promote a child’s understanding and use of language.

What to expect?

In Reception children will usually:

  • Sit and listen for small and large group activities for around 10 minutes e.g. circle time or listening to a story with minimal adult support
  • Concentrate on adult chosen activities including table top games e.g. puzzles, books and mark making for around five minutes
  • Concentrate for longer on a task of their choosing
  • Follow instructions without stopping what they are doing; known as ‘two channelled attention’

Information & advice

You can help by:

  • Making sure you look at the child you are speaking to/
  • Ensuring you have the child’s attention before giving instruction: e.g say the child’s name first and wait for them to look.
  • Minimising background noise and visual distraction both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Minimise visual distractions, especially behind the teacher.
  • Try to keep child’s desk free from unneeded items.
  • Be in front of and look at the child you are speaking to.
  • Use the child’s name to get their attention and wait for them to look at you before giving an instruction.
  • Ensure you have the child’s attention e.g. not playing with something before giving an instruction.
  • Providing a ‘talking object’ e.g. a shell. When one child is speaking they must be holding the talking shell, which means that everyone else (including the adults) must listen to what they say.
  • Making allowances for the child’s short concentration span.
  • Carrying out listening activities to build the child’s skills – please see resource below for ideas.