Talking To Our Babies; Talk, Sing, Read And Play - We Are Five Years Old Today! The Talking To Our Babies initiative was stimulated, developed, created and bought to life by the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership working together with your local Early Years Professionals, Community Members and many, many professionals from across the city who together, wanted to enable all our babies, toddlers and children to have the best start in life - the communication skills to last a lifetime. Here is a presentation of all we have achieved together over the past five years, from our youngest baby who is only three weeks old to our oldest who will have just started in Primary Two! The vision was, and still is, to raise awareness of the importance of communication and its impact on the future success of our children. Our logo is 'Talk, Sing, Read And Play, Builds My Future Every Day'. Talking To Our Babies programmes, events and training aim to support and enable everyone in our community to have a deeper understanding of how babies, toddlers and children (0 - 3 years) language develops and how best to support, enhance and promote their communication development. This is because research highlights the importance of communication in the early years and the significant impact language ability has on children's engagement with early education and their social experiences. We launched Talking To Our Babies with our first campaign, 'Nursery Rhymes Are So Much Fun So Sing One With Your Little One!' As nursery rhymes teach our children lots of communication skills such as listening, paying attention, learning new words, matching actions to words, memory and even concepts such as where animals live (remember Old Macdonald!), we've been singing ever since! We've also created together, campaigns to remind us how important sharing a bedtime story is to your little one's communication development; snuggled up, reading a book, talking together about what you can see... Our first Bedtime Story Campaign launched at Northside Shopping Centre with our 'Sleepy Time Stand', our next was the campaign, 'Bedtime Story, Sleepy Fun, It's What We Do When The Day Is Done!' We delivered this campaign through our Parent & Toddler groups, our own Talking To Our Babies groups and our Early Years settings as we supported them with their Big Bedtime Read. We produced a range of posters for our settings and even 'Bedtime Sleepy Time' posters for you to have at home. If you'd like one of these please just ask! We also ran a Facebook competition were we asked you to share the important messages about Bedtime Reading - 10'000 of you supported Talking To Our Babies here in Shantallow and Talking To Our Babies in the Waterside! Reading stories with your little one helps them learn so much and different stories help them learn different things. Did you know rhyming stories encourage phonetic awareness which links to pre-reading skills, lift the flap books help encourage curiosity, books about feelings and families help encourage confidence, self-esteem and understanding about how they, and others, think and feel. Counting books help lay strong foundations for maths and books about the world around us link to science! But they all help our little one's develop great communication skills - so another of our popular 'reading' campaigns, launched at the Guild Hall, was... 'Share A Story, Share A Smile It Only Takes A Little While!' We've also promoted sharing stories with your little one through our different classes over the years, such as, 'Create & Make Story Time' and 'Books In A Box'. At these classes we enjoyed stories, made story characters, book boxes and even and our own books! We do have lots of information sheets for you on books for Babbling Babies, Talking Toddlers and Chattering Children, so if you'd like some information on the best books and reading tips please just ask! One of our very popular campaigns, was 'Dummy Do, Or Dummy Don't'. This aimed to encourage everyone to consider was a dummy best for their little one, did it impact on communication development (check out the photos showing how we asked that question!) and when was a good time to give the dummy up. Don't forget we can still send you our 'Dummy Do Or Dummy Don't?' information or a 'Giving Up The Dummy' pack if you like. To promote our 'talk together' message, as this is the best way to help your baby, toddler and / or young child learn to be a confident communicator, we asked all the children in our community to help us make a mural. This mural, 'Talk To Me Often About Things That We See', was launched at our 'Spring Along, Come Along Day' and then put up in Leafair Park at a 'Plant & Play Day!' We also have another mural, which older pupils helped us to create, and this promoted the key communication milestones and a few nursery rhymes in Irish and English! Being 'Face To Face' with your little one when talking, singing, reading and playing really does make a difference to their communication development. This 'Face to Face' campaign message was promoted through 10 key messages at an event we enjoyed with you. Face To Face With You ... Helps me hear your voice more clearly. Promotes our loving trusting bond. Let's us share eye contact - helps you to see what I can see. Helps me to understand and learn about facial expressions and gestures. Means we are at the same level - you are not talking down to me. Encourages me to look and listen carefully. Helps me to concentrate on listening to you. Gives me emotional feedback - are you happy I'm doing this? Is this safe? Helps us share smiles together. We even used our Talking To Our Babies character in a poster to remind us that this 'Face to Face' message means its the best way to have your baby in their pram! Talking Together and being 'face to face' with you is wonderful for our little one's communication development but here at Talking To Our Babies we often get asked, "when should my baby say his first word", or "when should my toddler start to speak in sentences?" and, "how many words should my three year old be able to understand and say?" So we've shared lots of messages, film clips and of course campaigns about the communication milestones, here are the milestones (and your babies, toddlers and children). Don't forget we also do key communication milestone sheets for each age too - just ask and we'd be delighted to post yours to you. Throughout our time we have enjoyed many community days and events. Last year we, along with Talking To Our Babies Waterside and the CHILD project, held a 'Happy Bump, Happy Baby' event at the Guild Hall. During which we aimed to encourage and support communication and interaction between you, your bump or your new baby aged 0 - 3 months, as well as showing you the other wonderful services that are available to you. We have also enjoyed working in partnership with our local Sure Start Shantallow many times over the past five years. Our most recent event was 'My First Sounds, My First Words' which aimed to promote talking, singing, reading and playing with your toddler and the key communication milestones for this age group. Watch out our next joint event with Sure Start Shantallow for toddlers aged 18 months - 2.6 years called 'Now I'm Talking' - it's coming very soon! Talking To Our Babies is always delighted to be asked to support key organisation within our community. For example the Family Nurse Partnership at their Christmas events, Leafair Community Association at their Family Days, the North West Regional College and their Early Year Students and Shantallow Library. Most recently it was the Western Health And Social Care Trust, through their Infant Mental Health Campaign regarding 5 key messages about how to 'Give Your Child The Best Start'. You helped us to promote their message, 'Give Your Child Lots Of Love Affection And Praise'. And of course our last community campaign, which built on our 'More Talk, Less TV' campaign, and involved and included everyone was, 'Are You ScreenWise ?' We even produced a small booklet full of research, activities and information to help you be 'screenwise' - did you get yours? Here at Talking To Our Babies we know that that our parents, grandparents, childminders and early years professionals etc are dedicated and love to learn how best to support their little one's development and we have delivered lots of training to support you with this. If you are interested in attending any of our Information sessions or short courses please do get in touch! Over the past five years we have been very lucky to have been supported by all our local families and their babies, toddlers and children as they attended the different programmes we offer. All our programmes promote our simple message 'talk, sing, read and play builds my future every day'. Different programmes we have offered over the years include... 'Play Together, Learn Together' at Galliagh Nursery School 'Let's Play' At St Paul's Primary School 'Big Movers & Talkers' At Twisters Gymnasium 'Pop In & Play' At Pennyburn Parent & Toddler Group and Glenabbey Community Hub Sing, Sign & Rhyme (With Exploratory Play too!) 'Toddler Rhyme & Movement Time' 'Baby Sensory' And Of Course, 'Daddy & Me' (back again soon - just get in touch to put Daddy's name down for the next one!) So, thinking back to our Talking To Our Babies vision, have we raised awareness of communication and its impact on the future success of our children? Have we promoted our key message, 'talk, sing, read and play builds my future every day'? I think the answer is quite simply, TOGETHER we have! So a huge thank you to all our families, carer's, early years professionals and each of the Education Principals and Managers, and of course your babbling babies, talking toddlers and chattering children!. As well as to all the community, voluntary and statutory agencies, organisations and individuals across the city and of course our funders, The Department For Communities and The Education Authority; Extended Schools, who have enabled a community to come together to make a difference to the lives and futures of our youngest community members. Remember you can find all your Talking To Our Babies resources in our shop, even our brand new 2018 calendar - full of ideas, activities, tips and information to help you 'talk, sing, read and play'! Here's a last video to make you smile, to help you remember that it is simply when you 'talk, sing, read and play' with your baby, toddler and child every day, that you help give them the skills they need to be confident communicators and be happy, included and successful in their future.