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Every Child a Talker

What is  “Every Child a Talker”?

The Every Child a Talker (ECAT) Initiative is designed to create a developmentally appropriate supportive and stimulating environment in which children can enjoy experimenting  with language.

It can be implemented whether children are in the early years setting or at home with their parent carers through every day fun and interesting activities which reflects the child’s own interest.

ECAT will encourage early language development right from the outset extending children’s vocabulary and helping them build sentences so that before they start school they are confident communicators.

At St Michaels Pre-school Hilperton, we will work towards the’ Initiative’s aims’ when planning and organising activities for the children. Staff will appropriately continue to encourage children to communicate effectively between their peers and adults in whatever task they might be carrying out. However, it is at home where significant progress can be made, therefore the help and support of the parents / carers is vital to ensure the success of the “Every Child a Talker” Initiative.

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.

Make time to listen to your child

  • When they are telling you some thing. Stop what you are doing and get down to their level.

If your child’s sentence is muddled

  • Don’t correct them but repeat back to them how they could have said it

Don’t correct words that are not said correctly.

  • As with muddled sentences just repeat back the word said with the correct sounds.

Get your child’s attention

  • Face your child or sit down with them. Say their name before you start speaking. Talk about something you can both see in front of you. This helps them to learn what words mean.

Have fun together

  • Use actions, sing, and make noises and funny faces.
  • Don’t be shy, being a bit silly helps get their attention and makes them laugh.

Comments not questions

  • Asking lots of questions can feel like it’s a test. Make it a conversation.
  • Comment on what they are doing and what is happening.

 Give them time to think

  • Children need more time than adults to think about what they’ve heard, and decide what to say back.
  • Give them time to respond count 10 seconds  and look at them while you wait.

Use simple language

  • Keep sentences short for example, “food time now” or “wow, you’re building a tower”.

 Repeat what you say

  • It’s good to say the same thing over again, babies and toddlers need to hear words and sentences lots of times to understand them and learn new words.

Make it easier for them to listen

  • Turning the music, radio or TV off helps children to focus on your words.

 Build on what they say

  • Adding one or two words to what they say helps your child onto the next stage of talking.
  • So, if your child says “bus” you say “Yes, big bus”.

Speak in your home language

  •  It’s important for children to learn their first words and sentences in their home language.
  • Your child will learn English later, at nursery and school.

 Make it easier for them to talk

  •  Dummies can get in the way of talking.
  •  Try to keep them just for sleep times.
  • Take it out to talk.

 Show them the right way

  • Young children often make mistakes.
  • Show them that you understand, rather than asking them to repeat words correctly.
  • Say the word or sentence again correctly for your child. If they say “Look at the dod”, you can say “Yes, it’s a dog”.

Copy what they say

  • Repeat back sounds, words and sentences.
  • Whether its “la la” or “Oh, you liked the banana?” it shows you’re interested and that sounds and words are important

The ECAT Initiative Aims To.

  • Raise children’s achievements in early Years language
  • Improve practitioners skills and knowledge
  • Increase parental understanding and involvement in children’s language and Development

For more information please visit the web sites below:


Please take a look at Dr Edward Tronick face Experiment on You Tube explaining why you should talk to your baby, child:

If you have any questions or queries about any of the above, you can always speak to a member of staff.