This report explores the benefits of Early Words Together at Two programme for children, families and practitioners. It will use data collected from 182 parents and 32 practitioners as part of the programme evaluation to highlight changes for children’s early literacy engagement, parents’ understanding, confidence and behaviours around creating positive home learning environment, and practitioners’ knowledge and confidence in supporting parents in the home.
Data collected from 182 parents since March 2020 indicated that the programme has been successful in supporting children’s engagement with stories, songs, mark making and interaction with other children:
- For example, 3 in 5 (65%) parents said that after taking part, their child paid attention to stories more than before.
- 65% also felt their child interacted with other children more than before after taking part in Early Words Together, which is particularly encouraging in the light of the reduced opportunities for social interaction brought on by the pandemic.
In addition to changes for children, we also saw positive changes for their parents and for families as a whole:
- For example, 3 in 4 (76%) parents said they understood the importance of talking to their child more than before, and 3 in 5 (62%) felt more confident to share books with their child.
- Changes in parents’ knowledge and confidence are also reflected in how they engaged in activities with their child. For example, 3 in 5 (60%) shared stories with their child more than before taking part in the programme.
Analysis of particular families benefiting from the programme based on demographic factors indicated that Early Words Together may have been particularly beneficial for families who speak another language at home and those where none of the adults in the household were in employment:
- For example, more parents who speak another language at home than those who do not said they shared stories with their child more than before taking part in the programme (73% vs. 50%) and more said they sang songs together with their child more than before (81% vs. 62%).
- In addition, more parents from households where none of the adults were in employment compared with those from households where at least one parent worked said their child enjoyed sharing books more than before taking part in the programme (80% vs. 43%) and more of these parents reported sharing stories with their child more than before (80% vs. 50%).
Finally, we also observed changes in practitioners’ knowledge and confidence to support parents in engaging with their child’s early language and literacy development:
- This was particularly the case for overall engagement with parents as 97% of practitioners felt increasingly confident and 94% felt increasingly skilled to do so.