Every Child a Talker (ECAT) is designed to support children to enjoy experimenting with and learning language. It is implemented through everyday, fun and interesting activities which reflect children’s interests, ECAT will encourage early language development right from the outset, extending children’s vocabulary and helping them build sentences so that they are confident and skilled communicators.
Language is important because it forms the foundations for interacting with other people – for communicating our needs, our thoughts and our experiences. From the moment of birth, babies are ready to communicate: they listen to and look at people and things in their environment, and respond to what they hear and see. Even the youngest babies need a stimulating environment in which those who care for them respond sensitively to the different meanings of their cries, coos and gestures. This early ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally is the basis on which language is developed.
A child’s ability to develop language depends on being immersed in a rich environment of words, sounds, rhythm, and verbal and non-verbal expression from birth. However, sometimes children start school without the extended vocabulary and communication abilities which are so important for learning and for making friends.
ECAT is intended to help give the right support to children from their earliest days so that if there are any difficulties they may be prevented from occurring in the first place, or picked up early so that children are given the help that they need.