In April 2010 Surrey launched the Every Child a Talker (ECAT) project. The purpose of the project is to raise parents’ awareness of how children develop language and how vital their role is.
As a centre we provide an environment in which children are able to experiment with language. Children are actively encouraged to talk, chatter, to ask questions and to listen to each other!
Tips about talking and listening
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, talk about it. Whether it’s shopping in the supermarket, changing a nappy or walking down the road. You don’t need to say anything special and it doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t seem old enough to speak. It’s important for them to hear language, both words and the sounds of it.
- Talk about what your child is doing
When your child is playing, talk about what they are doing, “The red car is coming down the ramp, wee! Down it comes”.
- Talk Together
Children need to practice using language and have opportunities to talk. They need to learn that conversations are about taking turns. Talk to your child about what they are doing or what they can see around them. Listen to and value what your child is saying. Give them time to reply to what you have said.
- Involve children in conversation
Talk about what interests your child and what interests you. Join in their games and have fun playing. Give them opportunities to respond and ask questions. Remember that conversation is two-way.
- Value what your child says
Often they may not express themselves clearly, but it’s important to show that you are listening to what they say and to respond to it.
- Read stories and teach rhymes
Children need to listen to and use language. Listen to and read stories and rhymes. They give a rich experience that supports language development.
Here is an interesting video explaining why you should talk to your baby:
Still Face Experiment: Dr. Edward Tronick
Copyright © 2007 ZERO TO THREE http://www.zerotothree.org Ed Tronick (http://www.umb.edu/Why_UMass/Ed_Tronick), director of UMass Boston's Infant-Parent Mental Health Program (http://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/psychology/professional_development/infant-parent-mental-health/) and Distinguished Professor of Psychology, discusses the cognitive abilities of infants to read and react to their social surroundings. The video is an excerpt from Lovett Productions' HELPING BABIES FROM THE BENCH: USING THE SCIENCE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD IN COURT.