Friday 17 January 2014

Early Words Together up-date

We are finally ready to start the sessions. It's one hour a week over 6 weeks, where we follow a suggested programme to help families improve the 'home learning environment'. It's a pilot in 10 Children's Centre across Staffordshire, so if we can prove it works, they will do it all over the country. We are using volunteers to help us.

Their research has shown that parents  are the biggest influence of a child's education however good the school they later go to, so the idea is we empower parents as early as possible. The sessions will include things they can do at home such as using books, singing, pre-literacy and pre-maths activities plus visiting the library and introducing to the Children's Centre activities they could access.

We're asking professionals to refer families with whom they work or know about (maybe you know siblings) to take part. Ideally they are not accessing other services but the loosest criteria is they should have access to fewer than 30 books (probably safe to say anyone you think would benefit!). The children should be between 2 and 5 years.

We start:

Willows Children's Centre on Friday 31st January 1.30-2.30pm
Chadsmead Children's Centre on Wednesday 29th January 1.30-2.30pm
Springhill Children's Centre Monday 27th January 1.30-2.30pm

If you need a referral form please email Kerry Heath or leave a comment on here. I appreciate we  are on a tight deadline so I apologise for the speedy action required.

Next week I'll let you know about the South Staffs dates and times too.

As a speech and language therapist, I am only too aware of the decline in school readiness. I believe this could be a very small step towards improving the situation.

Thank you very much. 

Thursday 16 January 2014

Tamworth Transition project update

Just a quick up-date about what we've been doing:

We have finished phase 1 of the project which was the consultation: we had  a stakeholder session, surveyed all the nurseries and primary schools and also parents about the current transitions and how we might improve on what is already happening.

As a result of the findings, we have planned:
  • Parent workshops at the children's centres to look at what they need to help their child do before starting nursery at 2/3 or school at 4 years.  This was felt to be useful by 75% of those asked
  • Parent information booklets to support these, produced in conjunction with local parents for think 2 children/3 year olds and one for school entry, as requested by 80%. They talked about the common concerns and how they can get over them
  • Training session for nursery staff in preparing for the language demands of school, as requested by 70% of nurseries
  • A Bear Hunt themed session in nurseries which will then be carried over into the school visits for those schools wanting to take part. This would satisfy the 70% who felt that a joint project between schools and feeder nurseries would be useful
Obviously we will be monitoring the results closely and evaluating each part.

Its a lovely project to run and hopefully the results will show it has been successful!

Saturday 4 January 2014

Are you working with 2 year olds in your nursery? Would you like training to make a better difference?

It's a big ask for nursery staff to start taking much younger children. There are all the anti-social behavious of toddlers plus communication and language skills which may be developmentally way behind.

It's probably not fair to expect this but this is the situation faced by so many nursery staff.

Training has to be paid for but you need to know that any money spent will be well worth it. The course we are offering has had great feedback and has been written specifically for this purpose.

What is it?
A practical training course for staff working in Early Years settings to enable them to develop the communication skills of babies and very young children, written by Henrietta McLachlan, Jo Belsten and Liz Elks.Delivered by Lbiby Hill, Consultant SLT and licensed Elklan trainer. £325 (or early bird rate of £295 before 14/1/14)

Developed to support the revised EYFS framework this course links research on early language development with best practice to give practitioners up to date theoretical knowledge and practical tools to promote communication. Although designed to support the 2 year review and Development Matters statement in England the strategies underpin all curricula wherever taught.

When is it?
14th February, 28th February and 21st March

Where is it?
Stafford Children's Centre, Faraday Rd, Stafford

How is it delivered?
It is taught as an intensive three day programme. The course uses interactive teaching methods, practical activities, videos and group discussion to engage learners.

What does the course cover?
What is Communication?
Identify the processes involved in communication.
Adult-child interaction and non-verbal communication
Examine the effect of adult-child interaction on the development of communication skills.
Explore the importance of non-verbal communication behaviours.
Play for Language
Explore the link between play & language development and the development of social play.
Develop skills to promote play & support language development at key developmental stages
Listening, attention and understanding spoken language
Develop strategies to promote listening and attention and link these to the EYFS Development Matters statements.
Develop strategies to encourage the understanding of language including additional languages.
The Language Journey
Explore typical development of language learning.
Learn strategies to help children to develop a wide and varied vocabulary.
Consider how to meet the needs of the different EYFS age groups
The Blank Language Scheme
Facilitate development of supporting verbal reasoning.
Practise modifying the adult’s language according to individual needs.
Encouraging the development of spoken language and clear speech
Develop strategies to encourage the use of early phrases and sentences.
Explore how we articulate sounds and their typical development.
Discuss strategies to support young children with unclear speech.
Sharing books, using rhymes and exploring the link to early literacy
Consider the link between speech, language and early literacy development.
Explore how to use songs, rhymes and books to support communication.
Working with parents and carers to support communication development
Discuss effective ways of supporting parents to develop their child’s early communication skills.
Discuss how knowledge gain from the course links with the two year review process.
Linking it all together
Present evidence of applying knowledge gained across the course during everyday activities.

Who can attend?
Anyone interested but spaces limited to allow better discussions

contact for an application form