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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

ECAT (Every Child A Talker)

What is Ecat
ECAT stands for Every Child A Talker. This is a national project to develop the communication and language skills of children from birth to five years old. Recent research in the UK has shown that many children are entering schools and nurseries with considerable language delay. This language delay has a detrimental effect on children’s educational success, which can last all the way through their schooling and therefore affect their chances in life.

Currently, in West Berkshire 56 preschools and settings are currently involved and each has its own Early Language Lead Practitioner (ELLP).

ECAT focuses on encouraging the communication skills of young children through work with childcare settings. The whole team working in the setting is involved in supporting ECAT and they have a lead practitioner (known as an ELLP) who attends termly cluster meetings. Each setting that is involved in the initiative has three goals that they are working towards:

  1. Identifying and supporting children who may be 'at risk of delay'; slower or little language development than the expected ‘norm’, or those that are exceeding.
  2. Developing the knowledge and skills of all the practitioners who work within the setting.
  3. Helping parents to understand the stages of development of speech and language skills and how they can encourage their child's development.

If a child is having difficulties with their speech, language and communication skills, it can impact on their education and their long-term future.

Monitoring Process
By carrying out assessments regularly on children in the setting this will highlight any areas the child may be at risk of falling behind or thriving within language development.  This information is then gathered so the Key Person is able to monitor and add additional support to those that need it throughout their time at nursery or no longer need it. Support is given by providing different strategies and techniques that are individual to each child on our ‘ECAT’ list.

How you can help support your child’s language development?

  • Have conversations, speaking in your home language at the child’s level.
  • Encourage speaking in phrases and sentences, repeat new words several times.
  • Enjoy songs and rhymes together.
  • Play games which involve listening for a signal, such as 'Simon Says'.
  • Listen to made-up stories.
  • Share books together.
  • Listen to your child and take account of what they say when you reply.
  • Talk to your child about what they have been doing and help them remember and talk about events including everyday activities.
  • Reduce background noise.
  • Give your child at least 10 seconds to respond.

If you are interested in finding out more, there are links and resources below that you can support children’s language development with at home, or Speak to our Nursery ELLP: 

West Berkshire - Every Child A Talker 
Speech & Language UK
BBC - Tiny Happy People 
Learning to Talk