We celebrate Ipswich’s new Child Development Champions

23 Jul 2019

Last week, we held a special event at the IP-City Centre in Ipswich to celebrate the 116 early years practitioners who took part in our Champions for Children project this year to boost the language, social and emotional development of children under five in the town.

As part of this project, 116 early years professionals, now called Child Development Champions, from 66 nurseries in Ipswich were trained in techniques known to support children’s language development and in strategies to support parents to continue their child’s learning at home.

The project was developed and delivered by the National Literacy Trust and EasyPeasy, supported by Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Teaching & Research School, and funded by the Ipswich Opportunity Area.


After taking part in the project, practitioners:

  • Have greater knowledge and skills to support children’s communication, social and emotional development
  • Are more likely to introduce changes to the nursery environment to stimulate chat and play
  • Are more likely to engage and involve parents in activities to support their child’s language and communication development at home
  • All shared their learnings with other early years workers in their setting and will continue to do so.

Kirsty Cunnington, Early Years Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “We’d like to congratulate each and every one of the 116 early years professionals in the town who have taken part in the Champions for Children project. We know that children who start school with the words they need to learn, make friends and flourish will go on to lead happy and successful lives, so we hope that by creating a local network of Child Development Champions, we can give every child in Ipswich the best possible start in life.”

Jane Bradbury, Head of Education at EasyPeasy, said: “We are really proud to have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to train over 100 early years practitioners in Ipswich and provide support with EasyPeasy’s home learning programme. We know how important the early years workforce is in enabling positive behaviour change and supporting effective home learning, so we’re excited to continue to work with and support Ipswich practitioners through this project.”

Katrina Gardiner, Programme Manager at Ipswich Opportunity Area, said: “It was great to see the enthusiasm and hard work of all the early years professionals who took part in the Champions for Children project. Their commitment was fantastic and, as the report and the case studies clearly demonstrate, their training has already had significant positive impact. As the Opportunity Area is designed to unlock the potential of young people and increase social mobility, I believe that this project was a great steppingstone to ensure the very best support for children’s early language, social and emotional development in the long-term. The best practice sharing will continue through the network of Child Development Champions.”

Find out more about Champions for Children.