Early years educators know how important it is for parents and carers to have the confidence to engage with their child’s language development from birth. The statistics are worrying: in England, 1 in 4 five year olds are behind with their language skills, rising to 1 in 3 in some parts of the country.
Research has shown that it is not just the amount of talk or number of words a baby hears. What matters most is the back-and-forth, the turn-taking, the conversations parents and carers have with their babies and toddlers. These engage a baby’s brain, requiring listening and responding as well as hearing.
The BBC have been developing Tiny Happy People to support parents and carers to understand and fulfil the vital role they play in their child’s language development. There are lots of short video clips demonstrating simple interactions, games, and activities to do with children, grouped according to age range, as well as bite-sized dives into why families play such an important part in language development. Parents can visit the tips and advice section to find information ranging from wellbeing to being bilingual, or check out the science and facts area which includes short animations on topics such as why we should sing to babies and how a baby’s vision develops.
Everything is evidence based and quality assured by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and Tiny Happy People works with real families and the professionals who work with them, including speech and language therapists, health visitors, midwives and early years practitioners.
Tiny Happy People provides a rich resource for early years settings to use when supporting families. You can pick and choose from the different sections, pointing individual or groups of parents to a particular information animation or activity to try at home.
The initiative has been available for a few months, working hard during lockdown to adapt to the changing needs of its audience. This week Tiny Happy People is having an official launch, reaching more families and supporting more children. Your words build their world is the message that dances across the website and is evident in every resource.
To find out more about the extensive research and preparation that continues to go into Tiny Happy People, and how they would like to hear from early years practitioners, you can listen to our podcast 'Your words build their world': how parents can support their child's language development with Tiny Happy People with BBC Education executive producer Joe McCulloch.
Edited by Jules