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A new briefing highlighting the importance of supporting early language has been published

April 2016

Save the Children recently published Lighting Up Young Brains, a briefing looking at the science behind young children's brain development and its relationship to children's language development.

The briefing highlights the fact that between birth and age two the brain goes through a period of rapid development and growth. It also identifies the crucial period between the ages of three and five years, when children’s brains become more efficient and more complex, and children’s language skills develop rapidly.

The briefing explains that the experiences and environments that support early language and brain development are critical, and identifies parents and carers as having the biggest influence on their child’s early learning. However there were some concerning findings in a survey of parents carried out for the briefing:

  • More than two thirds of parents did not expect enough from their children’s language development
  • A quarter of parents did not feel confident to support their children’s communication skills

The report states that childcare is playing an increasingly significant role in children’s development, and ensuring high quality childcare is therefore essential. Save The Children are calling on the government to ensure that there is an early years teacher in every nursery in England by 2020.

Lighting Up Young Brains can be read here. The briefing includes some top tips for supporting early language skills, which can be downloaded here.

I CAN’s Early Talkers resources can be used to support all children’s communication skills.

While many children develop their language skills as expected, many children struggle. I CAN’s Enquiry Service provides free information and resources for supporting children’s language skills. Our Early Talk Boost intervention helps children with language delay to catch up with their peers.