Start For Life Campaign

Nationwide campaign goes live to help improve children’s early language

A new campaign from the Department for Education, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Care’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), has launched to improve childhood early language and help to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Some of the most disadvantaged children in the UK start school months behind their peers and the gap can grow through their school years and into their adult life. This issue has further increased during the pandemic, with a rise in the number of children starting school with language skills poorer than would have been expected prior.

The campaign aims to encourage parents and carers to chat, play and read more with their children to develop their communication, language and literacy skills before starting school. The aim is to empower parents and help them overcome the key barriers they face, such as lack of time, confidence and not knowing the types of activities they should be doing.

The reality is that these activities take little time, can happen anywhere and can be easily integrated into a daily routine. All the little things parents do with their child – like everyday conversations, make-believe play and reading together – make a big difference to their development. And, ultimately, it is as rewarding for parents and carers as it is for their children.

The main objective of the campaign will be to encourage parents for search ‘Start for Life’ or visit the Start for Life online hub, where they can find ideas of activities to do with their children and explore where to find further support in their local area.

The Start for Life campaign provides lots of ideas that can help boost your child’s learning and help set them up nicely for when they go to school. You can slot them into your routine and your children will love them. Such as:

• Play ‘I spy’ on the bus with them and you can see their imaginations light up

• Talk to your child about what has happened so far in the day – for example, “We went to the shops this morning, didn’t we? We bought some apples.” And talk about what is going to happen next – “After lunch we’ll do the washing up”

• Look at picture books together. With each new page, give your child time to point out things to you and talk about what they can see

Visit the Start for Life online hub for other simple tips and activities, or to find further support in your local area.

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