A new campaign encouraging parents, carers and guardians to take time to talk, listen and play, to help their child’s language development and communication skills, has been launched by the Welsh Government today (18th January).
The ‘Take Time’ campaign provides practical tips to parents and carers to help children, aged 3 to 7, improve their language skills and prepare for school. It is part of a wider Welsh Government approach to oracy which includes £700,000 of extra funding and support to schools in 2018-19 through regional consortia to help improve the language skills of learners*.
From today, advertisements featuring writer and presenter Anni Llyn, will run for two weeks on television, local radio stations and online. They provide helpful tips for parents to help develop their child’s language and communication skills at home. Booktrust Cymru’s Pori Drwy Stori programme, which is funded by the Welsh Government, will be an important resource as part of the new oracy campaign. These materials are given out to every child in the reception year of school as support for parents and carers to engage in their child’s learning when they start school and focus on the key Foundation Phase areas of learning, including literacy and numeracy.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, launched the ‘Take time’ campaign at the Llangattock Church in Wales School in Crickhowell earlier today. She said:
“We are prioritising children’s speech, language and communication skills because they are the building blocks for success, not only in school but later on in life as well. Oracy is essential for developing life skills and we are keen to support parents, carers and guardians as they pass these valuable skills on to their children. We know there are many different pressures when you’re raising children. Sometimes just finding the time can be a challenge but the message of this campaign is that every effort you make at this early stage will help and the benefits will last a lifetime. It’s important that we make this as fun and as rewarding a process as possible. The new campaign provides some helpful hints, tips and practical advice for parents, carers and guardians to support the development of their child’s bilingual speaking, listening and discussion skills.”
Head of Wales Office for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Alison Stroud, said: “The first three years of a child’s life are crucial in developing all of a young child’s growing need to communicate. Poor speech, language and communication skills can impact their behaviour, mental health, ‘school readiness’ and even their employability as adults. Children should be exposed to as many words as possible in everyday experiences to help them develop their language and promote their communication. There are lots of different ways that parents, carers or guardians can support them, but the simplest way is to keep creating opportunities to listen and talk together with the telly, smart phones and other mobile devices turned off.”
Helen Wales from Booktrust Cymru added: “Pori Drwy Stori aims to make learning fun and to give parents and carers ideas about ways they can support their children to talk and learn. The resources help children and families to have fun learning rhymes, to enjoy sharing books and stories and to play number games. The resources encourage children to speak, listen and make decisions building on our long-established Bookstart programme which encourages families to start talking and sharing books, stories and rhymes from a very young age.”
The ’Take Time’ oracy campaign is part of the wider ‘Education Begins at Home’ campaign. Now in its fourth year, ‘Education Begins at Home’ aims to encourage parents, carers and guardians to do more of the little things at home that will make a big difference to their child’s development and education. Further information and online resources for parents can be found at www.facebook.com/beginsathome (facebook.com/dechraucartref) / on Twitter @edubeginsathome (@dechraucartref).
* Funding of £700,000 is already in place for 2017-18