A team from Ko Awatea has headed to San Francisco to share the success of their early childhood oral language initiative.
Project manager Rebecca Lawn and improvement advisor Sneha Shetty are presenting the Now We’re Talking initiative at the Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education – a three day conference designed to improve education services worldwide.
The Now We’re Talking initiative is a joint project with the Ministry of Education and follows on from Ko Awatea’s previous Early Learning Participation project, which was aimed at increasing enrolment in targeted early learning organisations to 98 per cent.
Early language specialists Suzi Harris and Emma Quigan from the Ministry of Education are also co-presenters at the summit.
Now We’re Talking was designed to address the quality of early education – focusing on improving early language acquisition. An increasing number of five-year-olds are starting school with much fewer words than other children. The goal, therefore, was to improve the oral language skills of 85 per cent of the students, giving them a wider and more complex vocabulary.
Twenty early learning centres participated in the initiative in which groups of both parents and teachers used improvement methodology to learn how to maximise language opportunities with children.
Not only did the cohort of children gain greater and more complex vocabulary, but variation in achievement between the centres went down and teacher practice improved so that all teachers in the ECE centres targeted now have the same skills to engage with the children.
Campaign clinical lead Jilly Tyler says it is great to be able to showcase the project at the summit.
“Improvement methodology is a relatively new approach in education and finding solutions for improving oral language is a challenge that many schools and early childhood education services are facing in other parts of the world too,” Ms Tyler says.