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Laying the foundations of good communication development in young children.

Early Language Development Programme

The Early Language Development Programme (ELDP)

The ELDP was a national training programme, funded by the Department for Education from September 2011 to March 2015. Led by I CAN, it increased awareness, knowledge and confidence amongst the early years workforce supporting children's early speech, language and communication development.

Using a cascade model, 1,157 lead practitioners from early years settings and early years professionals were trained by I CAN to deliver three core training sessions to over 16,000 early years and family-facing practitioners, using a high quality suite of nationally tested materials. They in turn supported over 150,000 parents and carers.

Programme outcomes

The ELDP was independently evaluated by the Office for Public Management in conjunction with Sheffield University. The OPM final report found that "the ELDP has led to impacts for lead practitioners, local practitioners, parents / carers and children. The programme has reached a greater number of settings and families than originally intended, and those taking part (lead practitioners and practitioners) report overwhelmingly positive experiences."

A feature of the ELDP was its flexibility which enabled local authorities to integrate it into existing early language initiatives. Click here to read how the ELDP was rolled out in 12 local authority areas.

The programme was shown to change practice that was sustained over time. Read more in the evaluation summary.

The evaluation of the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) was carried out in three phases. The first focused on investigating the impact of ELDP on practitioners’ knowledge and confidence in supporting children’s early language, and the second on the impact of the programme on practice in settings. The third phase focused on investigating the impact of the ELDP on the children themselves. Dr Judy Clegg, Dr Maggie Vance and Carla Rohde, Department of Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield conducted this phase of the evaluation from 2014-2015 commissioned by I CAN, with support from the Department for Education (DfE). You can read the report here.

How can you access the benefits of the ELDP post March 2015?

Although the funded programme has closed, we are delighted to be able to continue offering this successful training to you and your staff albeit on a self funding basis. This course can also contribute to a national qualification.

The ELDP was designed to be flexible, and we can tailor the training to suit your needs. The programme is available for purchase by one person, an organisation or a whole local authority. Here are some examples:

As an early years practitioner with expertise in speech and language needs, e.g. an SLT, SENCO etc., you can attend I CAN early language training and purchase a license to deliver 'Early Talk' to a network of local practitioners.

I CAN currently has 60 plus 'Early Talk' licensees across the country, and this number will increase as ELDP lead practitioners who wish to carry on cascading the programme post March take up the opportunity to convert to licensees. I CAN will be able to put you in touch.

  • Buy direct training from I CAN

An I CAN Communication Advisor can deliver early language training to a specific group.

  • Buy the resources from our I CAN shop to share amongst your settings

For more information, contact training@ican.org.uk