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Toddler talk: New resources to improve children’s language skills
New resources to improve young children’s speech, language and communication skills will be launched today by Communities Minister, Lesley Griffiths.
The bilingual resources will ensure children benefitting from Flying Start – the Welsh Government’s flagship early years programme – get essential early language development support.
Parents and staff will receive a range of products, including a “Learning to Talk” pack for parents; a speech and language development wheel containing a guide from birth to five years for Flying Start health visitors; and stages of speech and language development posters.
These resources promote ways of encouraging early language development, such as singing to babies, turning TVs off when talking to babies and children, talking when playing, and the importance of reading to youngsters.
Evidence shows poor communication skills can have a huge impact on children’s development, including on their behaviour, mental health, school readiness and future employability, which is why support for speech, language and communication is one of the key elements of the successful Flying Start programme.
The new resources are being launched in conjunction with guidance for Flying Start practitioners on identifying the speech and language needs of children and the various types of support they can offer youngsters and their families.
The Minister will visit Ely Flying Start in Cardiff today to unveil the new guidance and resources. Speaking ahead of the launch, Lesley Griffiths said:
“It is a privilege to see first-hand the positive impact our Flying Start programme is having on the lives of children and families here in Ely and across Wales. Last year alone 31,000 children in Wales benefitted from the scheme, which really is giving youngsters a Flying Start in life.
“Speech, language and communication support is a key element of Flying Start. We know poor communication skills can have a negative impact on children throughout their lives, so it’s important to get the building blocks in place as soon as possible.
“The new resources and guidance I am launching today will help Flying Start staff and parents give children the support they need to reach their full potential.”
The guidance and resources have been welcomed by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). Dr Alison Stroud, Head of Wales Office at the RCSLT said:
“The speech, language and communication guidance and ‘Learning to Talk’ resources for staff and parents in the Flying Start programme are welcomed by the RCSLT. This is a major step forward in terms of improving early language provision for our youngest and most disadvantaged children.”
“We are delighted that RCSLT members were able to work so closely with the Welsh Government to ensure the current best evidence is embedded in the guidance and resources to give our most socially disadvantaged children the communication skills they need to take them through life and the Flying Start they deserve.”
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