First Words Together

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This new programme, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and delivered in partnership with Birmingham Forward Steps, helps parents support their babies' and toddlers' early communication and language development.

About the programme

Adapted from National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together, this programme aims to support the earlier identification of children who may need help with communication before the age of two, through building knowledge and confidence in early years practitioners and professionals, whilst also developing the skills and confidence of parents/carers.

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In partnership with Birmingham Forward Steps, this programme will train early years practitioners to deliver weekly sessions that include evidence-based, fun activities based around five top tips to build the foundations of communication that parents can easily repeat in the home.

The project will benefit 500 families with one-year-olds across Birmingham. An associated behaviour change campaign will be co-produced with local communities to benefit a further 2000 families.

4500 carefully selected, diverse and age-appropriate books for babies and toddlers will be gifted to families through the programme and campaign. The project will be externally evaluated by CREC.

Recognising babies as communicators

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Babies communicate long before they start to talk, through gestures, showing and giving objects, pointing and vocalising. Sharing books and interacting through books from when babies are very young supports communication development.

Early years practitioners taking part in this project will receive a toolkit with detailed session plans, resources and information on the development of early communication from birth to two, plus guidance on working in partnership with parents, building their awareness and confidence in supporting early communication leading up to their babies’ first words


We have lots of downloadable resources for children's centres and settings delivering First Words Together on the resource page below.

First Words Together resources

Digital resources

There are a range of resources for parents on our Words for Life website, which you can share with families attending the programme.

Resources for parents with one year olds