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Department for Education ‘Chat, Play, Read’

61fd1a25d399008a2776c6f705dbaec3.jpgCelebrity parents including Peter Andre, Natasha Kaplinsky, Cara De La Hoyde, Anton Du Beke and TV psychologist, Emma Kenny, are looking to empower parents to chat, play and read with their young kids.

The Department for Education has launched a new campaign to support parents to incorporate ways to ‘Chat, Play and Read’ with their children into their daily routines.

Many parents may be unaware that there are simple, everyday activities that they can incorporate to help their children’s language and literacy. According to a survey of 2,685 parents of children aged 0-5 from the Department for Education, almost a third of children (31%) do not read books with someone at home each day[i]. Furthermore, only around half of those surveyed learn the alphabet or recognise words (51%), learn numbers or count (58%) or learn songs, poems or nursery rhymes (59%), daily.

However, the survey further highlighted that 34% of parents would like to spend more time in learning and play activities with their children and parents cite having more free time (44%) and working fewer hours (37%) as the top factors that would help ensure more opportunity to interact in this way with their children. Busy modern lives and this lack of time could be the reason why the survey also revealed that around 100,000[ii] children aged 0-5 in England never undertake any learning activities at homeiiv.

The upcoming campaign from the Department for Education will highlight it is never too early to help develop children’s communication, language and literacy skills and will also provide practical advice on how to fit quality interactions into parent’s daily routines.

The announcement comes as currently over 180,000 (28%)[iii] children in England are not achieving the levels of communication, language and literacy they need to thrive by the time they finish their reception year.[iv],[v] The Government has set an ambition to halve this proportion of children by 2028.

The Department for Education has developed a fun, heart-warming new follow-along video featuring journalist and co-founder of Mum & You, Natasha Kaplinsky OBE and TV psychologist, Emma Kenny, which will highlight to mums, dads, and other family members, that it is never too early to help their child develop language, communication and social skills, for the best start in life. In the film, Natasha and Emma read from “Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Monster”, while also acting out some of their favourite scenes and chatting about the characters. Parents can either watch and play along or even use the video as inspiration on how to incorporate more chat and play into reading.

[i] Department for Education. 2017. Childcare and early years survey of parents, 2017.

[ii] 2.440751% of children aged 0-5 based on secondary analysis of the DfE Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents 2017

ONS figures MYE2-All Table = 4,106,633 children 5 and under in England

2.440751% of 4,106,633 equates to 100,233 (around 100,000)i

[iii] Source: 27.6% are currently not achieving levels communication & language and f217d9a403e4710fff3bcc8fc81abb2f.jpgliteracy by the time they leave reception.ii

Source: MYE2-All Table = 652,400 children aged 5 in England

27.6% of the 652,400  5-year-olds = 180,062 (over 180,000)iv

[iv] Department for Education. 2018. Early Years stage profile results in England, 2018.

[v] Office for National Statistics. 2017. England population mid-year estimates 2017.

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