Scheme set to go county-wide after enjoying success

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A SCHEME to improve young children’s communication skills has proved such a success that it has been rolled out across the rest of the county.

Every Child a Talker was launched locally in April 2010 by East Sussex County Council’s Early Years and Childcare Service.

Funded by the Government, the scheme provides selected early years settings with direct support to develop the communication and language skills of children from birth to four years-old.

The county council selected 20 childcare settings in Eastbourne and Hastings to work with over a 12-month period, including children’s centres, nurseries and a network of childminders.

Under the scheme, a speech and language therapist and an early years teacher worked with a member of staff from each setting to develop an action plan to improve the communication skills of the children in their care.

Staff were given bespoke training by the specialists to help them become aware of the typical stages of communication development in children and how best to support their growth in these areas.

The pilot is now coming to an end, but the county council is keen for the good work to continue and wants other childcare settings to benefit from the project.

To encourage even more childcare settings to participate, the county council held a special conference in Eastbourne last week.

The event showcased the success of Every Child a Talker and raised awareness of the importance of early communication and language.

Held at the Kings Centre, it was attended by early years professionals, schools, nurseries and healthcare partners.

Plans are underway so those that have already taken part in the scheme can share their experiences and knowledge with others.

Cllr David Elkin, the County Council’s Lead Member for Standards and Learning Effectiveness, said, “Schemes such as Every Child a Talker are really important because the development of general communication skills in pre-school children is essential.

“Even though the scheme has ended, we are committed to building on its success and are offering training to more childcare providers in East Sussex to enable them to adopt its values.

“We want to ensure we are doing all we can to help give children the best possible outcomes in life.”