Early Language Interaction project
The Hackney Early Interaction Project is a pilot project taking place between September 2022-March 2024 in the Hackney Downs Neighbourhood.
Children’s language skills at a population level in Hackney are below the national average by the time they finish their first year of school. Research shows that when children have poor early language, their later life outcomes are significantly impacted: children with poor early vocabulary skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed in their 30s than those who have good early vocabulary skills; young people who are referred to mental health services are 3 times more likely to have communication needs; and over 60% of young people who are accessing Youth Justice services present with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (Bercow: Ten Years On, 2018). We also know children from socially disadvantaged families are more than twice as likely to be identified with speech and language needs, and that in areas of high social deprivation, like Hackney, more than 50% of children may be starting school with delayed communication skills (Bercow: Ten Years On, 2018).
The project has a focus on place-based working and uniting staff working across Health, Education, and the Voluntary and Community sector in the Neighbourhood to work together with parents around the common aim of improving how we are supporting children’s early language skills.
If you would like to find out more about this project, please email Marie England, Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Parents will have a good understanding of how they can support their child’s language development at home.
- The children’s workforce is skilled in identifying children who are not meeting their language and communication milestones.
- Key settings which a child may access in the early years provide a language-rich environment which support their early language development.
- Children who are identified as not meeting their early communication milestones are able to access a range of opportunities in their local area which are supportive for their language development.
- The early stage of the project focused on engagement with key stakeholders. This included a stall run at Kingsland Shopping Centre in December 22, and a parent focus group at Clapton Library in March 23, where we were able to have valuable conversations with parents and carers about challenges they faced in supporting their child’s early language development. This feedback helped to inform the direction of this project.
- 2 universal (open to all) parent and carer workshops have been run at local charities working with disadvantaged families. The workshops were co-produced by the Speech and Language Therapist and a Homerton Resident Advisor, who is also a local parent of young children.
- The Hackney Downs Family Fun Day took place in July 23. This was an engaging outreach event to support families to access advice and information from local services about supporting their child’s development. Over 120 families registered with Linden Children’s Centre and 11 services attended to run information stalls about their service offer.
- Support for local nurseries. We are collaborating with the team behind the Verbo app, which is a web app designed by the local Speech and Language Therapy service currently being used in Hackney schools to support children with language needs. We are supporting in the development of Early Years training content to be made available to nurseries via this app.
- Continued outreach into the community; particularly to communities where a higher proportion of children are experiencing disadvantage and poorer early language outcomes.
- Co-production of training and support for local services across healthcare and voluntary sectors.