First Words Together

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First Words Together 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 supports the earlier identification of children who may need help with communication before the age of two. The programme aims to build knowledge and confidence in early years practitioners and professionals, whilst also developing the skills and confidence of parents/carers.

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Currently delivered in Birmingham with plans to expand into the Black Country and North East of England this programme trains 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 4,800 families with one-year-olds across the West Midlands and the North East of England. An associated behaviour change campaign will be co-produced with local communities to benefit a further 12,000 families, with 16,000 carefully selected, diverse and age-appropriate books for babies and toddlers gifted to families through the programme and campaign.

In Birmingham, the programme is being delivered in partnership with Birmingham Forward Steps, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. 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 get a toolkit with detailed session plans, resources and information on the development of early communication from birth to two.

In addition, they will receive guidance on working in partnership with parents and carers, helping them to build 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 participants' resource page.

First Words Together resources

Digital resources

You cand also find 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