Talk To Your Baby annual conferences have built up a loyal following of delegates for whom the event is the highlight of their year. Bringing together policy, research and practice that focuses on babies and early communication is what makes the conference such a unique event. If you haven’t been before, now is the time to make your booking – especially as Talk To Your Baby 2019 will be in the vibrant city of Manchester where the Museums and Art Galleries create special programmes designed specifically for babies.
Manchester is the home of LuCiD, the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development. This fabulous research collaboration works with partners across the world to transform our understanding of how children learn to use language. By providing the evidence base and sharing this with those designing and delivering frontline services, this powerhouse helps reassure everyone that their interventions are effective.
LuCiD’s commitment to the conference is illustrated by research contributions from Ludovica Serratrice, who is Professor of Bi-Multilingualism at the University of Reading, along with those of Professor Anna Theakston and Sharon Freeman from the University of Manchester. Anna will share her amazing findings on what babies notice in their environment and how this relates to later language learning. Ludovica’s research on becoming bilingual in early childhood will be complemented by Sharon’s experience of working with bilingual families. Also in the research space, Professor Elizabeth Meins’ cutting edge research on mind-mindfulness will really get you thinking about what babies are thinking!
The policy platform will be driven by a keynote from Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, former shadow Education Secretary and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes and on Literacy, and a talk from Susie Owen, Deputy Director for Early Years in the Department for Education. Their thinking on ways in which the communication and literacy skills of young children can be fostered to create a level playing field will be complimented by valuable insight from Cerys Griffiths, the BBC’s Creative Director, on their current behaviour change strategy.
The crucial work of frontline services will also be central to the conference, with learning from Nottingham’s Better Start funded Small Steps, Big Changes programme and Greater Manchester’s delivery of the National Literacy Trust’s Helping Early Language and Literacy Outcomes (HELLO). In addition, Nick and Jenny from Enfield Music Service will be speaking about encouraging parents to sing to their babies to facilitate language development. We’re also delighted to be welcoming Shabira Papain, Deputy CEO of Best Beginnings, to discuss their new Baby Buddy app to guide parents through pregnancy and the first 6 months of their baby's life.
Jonathan Douglas, Director of National Literacy Trust will chair the day, combining immense knowledge and insight with trademark enthusiasm. Not only will you get to hear from this amazing range of speakers but there will be lots of opportunities to network and to find out more about the latest opportunities in the early years space.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
By Cathy Hamer, early years language and communication consultant