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Early Talk Boost Case Study – Ambleside Centre, Reading

In September 2015 I CAN launched a brand new intervention for 3 – 4 year olds with delayed language, Early Talk Boost. Since then I CAN have been busy training Licensed Tutors who have been cascading training to early years practitioners across the country, enabling them to deliver the intervention to children in their settings.

Phil Armstrong, manager of the Ambleside Centre, Reading, describes the impact Early Talk Boost is making in his setting.

“We are currently implementing Early Talk Boost as an early years intervention at Ambleside Centre. There are 156 children at the centre, around 12% of whom receive Early Years Pupil Premium and 19% are learning English as an additional language (EAL).

We identified communication and language as a primary need through looking at our baseline data on the children, it was also a trend we picked up previously. So far we have identified 12 children to receive the Early Talk Boost intervention as part of two groups, three of whom are learning English as an additional language and they have almost completed their nine week intervention.

We found out about Early Talk Boost through a speech and language therapist who works at the centre two days a week. She thought it would support the children in general but would also fit well as part of the Pupil Premium project we were running.

The first thing we did was arrange the training, which we attended with a number of other local settings. Our speech and language therapist also attended the training and was able to support the staff. We then set up and ran Early Talk Boost groups for the identified children.

We’ve seen the way some of the children, particularly those who were less confident, are using language more in their play and when interacting with unfamiliar adults in the setting. The intervention has really improved the confidence of the children across the setting, not just in the sessions themselves.

The practitioners say the children respond to Tizzy in a really positive way (Tizzy is a character in the storybooks that support the intervention). The children’s understanding of key concepts like big and little has really developed and so has their confidence in using language in general. The children have responded really positively and they look forward to the sessions and taking the books home. They talk very enthusiastically about what’s going to happen and can tell you what’s going on. The majority of parents have engaged with the programme; we held two parent meetings before the sessions started and some parents went online to find out more about Early Talk Boost.

The staff found the tracker easy to use (the tracker is an online facility that enables you to record, monitor and download or print results before and following the intervention).They think it will be particularly useful when the programme is finished to see the progress the children have made.

Early Talk Boost has given us another tool to support early identification of speech, language and communication needs. It has provided a focus around those children who might not have needed a referral but still needed support. The Early Talk Boost training has increased staff knowledge and has certainly helped clarify that difference between language delay and language impairment.

Early Talk Boost was so effective in our setting because it was really well resourced. The children have become very familiar with the repetitive nature of the programme.

We’re currently talking about running another training session, getting more staff trained and seeing if other settings want to attend. We encourage all early years setting to find out more about the programme.”

If you have children with delayed language in your early years setting please visit the I CAN website to find out more about Early Talk Boost.