Managers and teachers of ten early childhood centres gathered at Ko Awatea recently to share their experiences, ideas and findings at the second learning session of Now We’re Talking in 2017.
The Now We’re Talking project – led by Ko Awatea and the Ministry of Education – aims to improve oral language skills for 85% of children in participating early childhood education centres to at least a consolidating level by April 2018, so that they develop a broader and more complex vocabulary.
“Research shows that children with strong oral language achieve more at school. Longer term it translates to better health, social networks and employment outcomes,” says project manager Rebecca Lawn.
Participants were interested in the language strategies and improvement techniques used by other centres and what they have achieved this far.
Candy Wu from Panmure Bridge Childhood Centre says the language strategies she has applied in her centre delivered some positive results. There are now more meaningful conversations happening among children and also between children and teacher.
Heather Skelton, manager at Glendowie Montessori Preschool adds that since the project started, they have been documenting more of the children’s conversations and evidence of their learning. “It is exciting to be a part of this project,” she says.
The project – The objective of Now We’re Talking is to strengthen children’s early language through:
- Supporting teachers to improve practice;
- Raising educational quality and improve learning outcomes.
Now We’re Talking involves trying out practical strategies such as adjusting the way teachers talk to help children develop more advanced language skills and making small changes to the ECE centre, like having more books.