Early Years

Good communication skills are the foundation for social and academic success. At Words First, we understand the significant impact language and communications difficulties can have on a pupils’ ability to build friendships, follow instructions in class and access the curriculum.  Our focus in the early years is on preventing later difficulties through early identification (using research based approaches) and high quality early intervention.

Research tells us that we can predict which children may be at risk of later literacy and language difficulties by looking at their vocabulary, speech and language skills before the age of 5. In most cases, these children do not have ‘neurobiological’ difficulties – that is, their brain is ‘wired for language’ yet they may not have had enough exposure to language / words / conversations in their early years. This has a significant impact on their school readiness but one of the most important things to remember is that these children CAN and DO catch up, with the correct intervention and support! Our carefully designed battery of assessments provides a good indication of how each child’s ‘wiring for language’ may have been affected by the language-impoverished start and therefore who require special attention.

Our highly specialist speech and language therapists are trained to provide direct support and intervention with these pupils based on their unique profiles and the impact of this intervention has been measured across all of our schools. Additionally, Words First therapists aim to work closely with teaching staff to ensure strategies are embedded across the curriculum and teachers have an excellent understanding of their pupils’ needs. If you have a Words First therapist in your school, you will have access to regular on-site training at no extra cost, when are where you need it!

As mentioned, our aim in the early years is to identify children at risk and provide high quality intervention to prevent later academic and social difficulties. However, in many of our schools we have identified a large percentage of children starting school on the back foot and realized that we cannot provide high quality, direct intervention to ALL of them, we just don’t have the luxury of time. Words First is a highly proactive practice and having seen this huge need, we have developed a structured intervention and prevention programme for teaching assistants to follow to support children in this ‘at risk’ category during the early and primary school years.

Our extremely innovative Leaps2Language Series was carefully designed with engaging pictures and activities to cover all aspects of early language and literacy development to boost childrens’ communication skills. It is also a bridge between home and school with user-friendly guidelines to ensure it can be implement easily at home and at school without the need to change any daily activities.