Chatter Matters!

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Chatter Matter PosterThe Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Oisín Quinn, today launched Chatter Matters, an initiative of Dublin City Council’s Community & Social Development Section and Dublin City Public Libraries, to encourage language development in babies and toddlers. Research shows that in their first three years, children absorb more language than they will do at any other time in their lives. Talking to, playing with and reading to under 3's as often as possible have been shown to support children’s confidence and communications skills.

Right: Poster (click to view larger version)

Follow the conversation about the Chatter Matters initiative on Twitter #chattermatters.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Oisin QuinnLaunching this poster campaign , the Lord Mayor (left) said "I am delighted to launch 'Chatter Matters' to focus attention on the need to encourage young children’s language development. Children’s education begins long before attending school or even preschool; in fact some of the most important learning for this age group is in the home and the community. Children's experiences of playing and talking reinforce their skills and create the building blocks required for effective communication and future literacy."

He also said "Children's literacy is an issue I feel strongly about which is why I hosted 'The Birth of Literacy' seminar some months back. That event provoked discussion about early years language acquisition, and delegates recommended that an initiative was needed to draw attention to this early developmental stage. It is great to see the ‘Chatter Matters’ campaign now taking shape."

Important building blocks in the early years of oral language development include;

  • Talking to and with children
  • Playing
  • Singing e.g. nursery rhymes
  • Asking questions
  • Repeating words
  • Reading regularly, using picture, word or story books

Also commenting on early childhood language development Monica Cassidy, Manager of the Larkin Centre Preschool, said "From infancy, children use sound, gesture and body language to communicate their needs and feelings. At about six months, babies begin to ‘tune in’ to the sounds of the family language. This early learning is the beginning of a child's awareness of sound in their environment. Parents, care givers, adults and siblings can support this by talking, singing songs, jingles and rhymes as they change, wash, feed and play with the baby. In the first two years, young children are listening and learning about what language is and what language does. They need to do this before they can begin to talk expressively."

Some Tips from Your Library

Toddler groupDo things together with your child. Say, "now we are washing the dishes... Look at the soapy water..."

Repeat back to your baby what she/he says to you. You’re having a conversation!

Encourage big sister to talk to her little brother. She can help his language skills too!

Find Storytelling or a Toddler Group at your local library. Build Language Skills for Life.

Get tip sheets on playing with your baby, toddler or young child from Aistear – in many languages.

Chatter away all through the day. Chatter while you play, chatter while you work, chatter while you eat, chatter until sleep.

Remember, #ChatterMatters!

For further information on the campaign see http://www.childcareonline.ie

About The Birth of Literacy Seminar

To support national policy on this issue, the Lord Mayor and Dublin City Council hosted a seminar 'The Birth of Literacy' in November 2013. This half-day event focussed on the value of oral language competency development in children in the early years, and the role that families and communities play in supporting and encouraging communication. Experts across a number of sectors presented on key themes providing valuable insights into the influences that early years language development and other experiences have on lifelong learning.

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