The official launch of Talking Takes Off in Luton was celebrated with a fun packed day of music and reading.
The year long project, funded by the Department of Education and delivered as part of Luton Council’s Flying Start programme language development aims to improve speech and communication in 0-5-year olds in Luton.
Poor communication skills can have a major lifelong impact. In Luton, 20 per cent of children do not meet the expected levels in early communication and language goals by the age of five.
The early years are a crucial window of opportunity to ensure that children have the best start in life with the skills they need to thrive.
A range of professionals from Flying Start children’s centres, Active Luton, library and speech and language services were on hand at the launch to highlight the importance of early communication and language skills and to talk to the many parents and families about the Talking Takes Off programme and how it can provide clear guidance and support for them in developing these skills.
The project will also deliver additional support for those parents and young children where they need it.
Cllr Mahmood Hussain, portfolio holder for children and young people said: “We want to ensure Luton’s children are ready to start school by helping them to develop good speech, communication and language skills and make sure they become active, confident learners.
“Children who begin school with poor language and communication skills are at a disadvantage from the start.
"Many children do not catch up in primary school with the result that they are less likely to reach their education targets and succeed in later life.
"Research shows that adults with poor vocabulary skills are twice as likely to be unemployed.
“It’s crucial that we work with parents as they are key to the success of the programme.
"This is a really valuable project which will give support where needed and help parents and families to recognise the vital importance of communication at this early stage in children’s lives.”
For more information about the project visit www.flyingstartluton.com/talkingtakesoff.