The Duchess of Cambridge launches Tiny Happy People project to help improve children's communication and speaking skills
Talk to children from as early an age as possible.
That's the simple message from new initiative Tiny Happy People, which has been launched by The Duchess of Cambridge.
Together with the BBC, the aim of the project is to help parents and carers develop the language and communication skills of children aged up to four.
Tiny Happy People offers a wide range of free short films, articles, quizzes and parenting tips, available online and through social media, which have been specially designed with experts to help to nurture children’s language right from pregnancy.
The initiative is likely to be of particular interest to parents who feel that lockdown may have impacted on their child's development because routines, contact with family, friends, nursery or play groups has all been halted because of coronavirus and social distancing guidelines.
Describing the new resources as 'gold dust' the Duchess says the information provided by the new project will bridge a gap that often emerges between a baby's regular contact with midwives and health visitors and the time before they start school.
Amongst the projects the mother-of-three has been behind are two animations on parenting, available on the Tiny Happy People website, about making eye contact with babies and singing to babies.
As the BBC continues to roll out the project, The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will continue its collaboration.
The free digital resources being offered by Tiny Happy People are designed to be incorporated into everyday routines.
James Purnell, BBC director of radio and education, said: “Early years language provides the foundation for all aspects of a child’s life – right into adulthood. Tiny Happy People is a major, long term education commitment from the BBC to help close the under-fives language and communication gap and help give kids the best chance in life."
Evidence shows that more than 1 in 4 children (27%) in England do not reach the necessary level of literacy development (language, communication and literacy skills) by the time they start primary school, rising to more than 1 in 3 (42%) in deprived areas.
Research also shows that once children start behind, they very often stay behind, affecting performance in school, job prospects and even life expectancy. However, evidence also shows that parents and carers can make a big difference if they’re supported in the crucial early years – and if children can develop language and communication skills before they start school, they have every opportunity to thrive.
Alongside their royal supporters the Tiny Happy People project will work with a number of partners including Public Health England, The National Literacy Trust and The National Lottery Community Fund with the ambition to make a significant contribution to halving the number of children in the UK who do not reach the required developmental outcomes in literacy by the end of their reception year.
For more information about Tiny Happy People, please visit the website here