Why is it that some children thrive while others do not? Is it a matter of genetics, IQ, socioeconomic background or education? Every child deserves to reach their full potential and their early years of life could transform the world.
“A brain has to be built. It comes ready to learn, but it’s not built yet.”
This is an excerpt from our “Bitesize Training: Every Child a Talker (ECAT)” which equips practitioners with a deeper understanding of speech development and a raft of strategies to promote communication and language, including assessment materials. Full training (in-person and digital) can be booked here.
What is ECAT?
Every Child a Talker (ECAT) is a universal speech, language and communication development programme. Initially launched as a national project by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in 2008, funding was assigned to Local Authorities with relatively poor results against language elements of the EYFS Profile. Norfolk was deemed eligible and received funding to deliver a speech language and communication training and support project to a number of early years settings.
The ‘Newton Oakley Education: Food for Thought’ series aims to provide you with learning sparks and talking points to share in staff meetings, training or in your professional library.
Today I attended a webinar held by the Centre for Mental Health about ‘Maternal Mental Health During a Pandemic’ which covered the centre’s new rapid evidence review. While many practitioners working within early years education may not work directly with parents during the perinatal period, it is useful to have a broad understanding of the implications of poor maternal (and paternal!) mental health support during children’s early life. Conversations about service cuts are rife within the early years field but often those conversations don’t extend to discussions about the root cause: how political and local board decisions directly impact your work.
We already know that the perinatal period is a time of significant risk to women’s mental health, with up to two in ten women suffering some form of mental health difficulty, without factoring in the new stresses and significant life changes brought about by a global pandemic (exacerbation of inequality, social isolation, job losses and insecurity, health anxiety, caring responsibilities, etc.).
The Duchess of Cambridge has unveiled the findings of the biggest ever UK study on the early years, in a milestone moment for her work on the importance of early childhood in shaping the rest of our lives and broader societal outcomes. The Royal Foundation commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the research, aiming to discover what the UK thinks about the early years. It also explores how COVID-19 has impacted the perceptions and experiences of parents and carers of the under-fives. Ofsted has also conducted research in to the impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning and welfare that can be found in briefings here and here.