The date for the child's admission diagnostic test – attended by a speech therapist as well as by a management representative, a senior teacher, and a psychologist – is discussed the first time a family visits one of our kindergartens. The speech therapy segment of the test does not presuppose a single plan that would be the same for every child, because the speech therapist's first task is to get to know the child in the new kindergarten environment. That means finding a common language with the youngster, making contact, establishing the state and level of their overall speech development, and, if possible, assessing their pronunciation, their ability to distinguish phonemes, and any peculiarities of their grammatical structure and connected speech. The admission diagnostic test takes the form of a conversation first with the child, and then with their parents too. At the end, the speech therapist may give the parents some necessary recommendations as well as telling them what the express diagnostic test revealed about the level of the child's speech development (assuming the child participated in quality speech contact with the adult).
Then the work at ENS really begins. At the beginning of the school year, the speech therapist first carries out a speech therapy examination to identify children who need speech therapy intervention as soon as possible. This is likely to apply in the first instance to older children, because they will be starting school sooner and there is less time to work with them than there is with younger children. But there will also be some Nursery group children who are ready to see the speech therapist, be helped to pronounce particular sounds, and follow what are admittedly not easy instructions – to do their articulation exercises in front of the mirror and watch themselves as well as the speech therapist. The other children will be examined by the speech therapist later, once they have started to fit into the adult and child environment and to adapt to the new conditions they are experiencing.