Every child a talker & early talk boost

ECAT – Every child a talker


‘Research shows that children who start school as confident speakers with good language skills become successful learners and achieve in life’.


‘10% of children have a speech, language or communication need which is likely to be persistent and have long term impacts on social behaviour and life chances’, ICAN, 2006.


Every child a talker is a national initiative, which provides information to encourage children’s speech, language and communication skills from birth, for families and adults working with young children.


Using props to support a story.

ECAT top 10 tips

  • Get the child’s attention first.
  • Imitate the child’s language.
  • Use the full range of expression.
  • Use simple repetitive language.
  • Use all senses to help teach new words.
  • Build on what the child says to you.
  • Give the child time to respond.
  • Be careful with questions.
  • Rather than criticise, demonstrate the right way.
  • Make learning language fun.
  • Use signs alongside spoken language.
  • Eye Contact (down to child’s eye level).



How do Choochoos use every child a talker?

  • Practitioners are trained and provided with information about ECAT as part of their professional development.
  • ECAT is used daily throughout our children’s routine.
  • Practitioners use the ECAT advice and 10 top tips throughout their time with the children.
  • The activities are used as planned activities, during group times or free play.
  • Parents/carers are provided with ECAT workshops with activity ideas for home.
  • Parents/carers are provided with leaflets in their parent pack meeting or can be accessed in our lobby areas.



Early talk boost

  • Early talk boost is a targeted intervention aimed at 3–4 year old children with delayed language development.
  • It is designed to boost children’s language skills to help narrow the gap between them and their peers.
  • This programme has been designed by specialist speech and language therapists and a highly experienced nursery teacher.
  • The intervention’s design is based on strong evidence of what is known to support language development in the early years.



Early talk boost supports:

  • Attention and listening.
  • Speaking.
  • Developing vocabulary and introducing new vocabulary.
  • Building sentences.
  • Building self esteem and confidence.



How does Choochoos use early talk boost?

  • Early talk boost is only used with our 3-4 year olds.
  • Children are chosen specifically for this intervention group, to support a child in any areas in the list above.
  • The group takes place three times a week for about 10 minutes, during a focused group time, for a 9 week period.
  • Practitioners observe the children during these groups and observations are completed.
  • Parents/carers are provided with activities to complete at home during this intervention programme.
  • The children’s progress is monitored throughout the intervention programme. At the end of the sessions the child’s progress, development and impact is compared from the start.
  • This is programme is then repeated with a new group of children.


Parent/carer ideas

Multi use toys

Too many toys can be difficult for children with attention and learning difficulties. Toys and activities, such as, bubbles, windup toys and ball activities can encourage and develop joint attention and turn talking. Choose toys that can be played with in a variety of ways, e.g. wooden blocks, musical instruments, treasure baskets, sand and water play.



Use of gestures/using signs & symbols

  • Use action rhymes and songs.
  • Adults should match their instructions to the child’s level of understanding, for example, if a child only understands one key word in a sentence, they will not understand “Go and get your coat and shoes and put them on”.


Action rhymes & songs (music sacks)

Babies and children are exposed to the fun of learning with enjoyable high quality songs and rhymes with interactive props and resources. Make your own story/song sacks.


‘I had a little Turtle’ song sack. Resources – Toy turtle, picture sequence book, bubbles and soap.

‘Old McDonald had a farm’ song sack. Resources – Pictures of farm animals, spoons with pictures of animals on for the children to handle and touch, small world animals.


Pillow stories

Have images on pillows and children can create their own stories from the visual images they can see on the pillows, extending the children’s vocabulary, confidence, imagination and social skills.


Please refer to our leaflets in our lobby for more information or ask one of our practitioners. You can also click on the links below to find out more:

Example of pillow stories.