Language support for parents and carers: BBC Tiny Happy People
As you know, the Local Authority is working with the BBC to enable systematic and consistent use of ‘Tiny Happy People’ in Derby and are due to start this work in the autumn. You may have seen the national launch on television this morning, supported by the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Duchess said there is "a massive gap" in support given to parents after the first few months of a child's life until they start school. The Tiny Happy people initiative aims to help parents develop their children's language skills with simple activities including free online videos and quizzes.
At the heart of the BBC's five-year Tiny Happy People initiative is a simple message - talk to children from as early an age as possible. It includes a range of online activities including parenting tips, films, articles and quizzes launched to help parents and carers develop the communication skills of their young children, right from the start of pregnancy. The Duchess helped in the character and background development for two animations on parenting, which are now available on the Tiny Happy People website, about making eye contact with babies and singing to babies.
The Duchess recently met families to hear about how they had found the activities. One of the parents she spoke with, Ryan, said they had helped him to identify that his eight-month-old daughter Mia has five different cries. The Duchess said "He's learned a huge amount from Tiny Happy People". "It's information like that I wish I had had as a first time mum, it's gold dust really for families to be given those tips and tools to be able to use, particularly in those first five years."
Research by the National Literacy Trust shows that once children start behind, they stay behind, affecting performance in school, job prospects and even life expectancy.
And other Department for Education research shows more than one in four children (27%) in England does not reach the necessary level of literacy development - meaning language, communication and literacy skills - by the time they start primary school, rising to more than one in three (42%) in deprived area
James Purnell, the director of BBC Radio and Education, added: "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 children the best chance in life. We're all so proud of it and look forward to seeing parents and carers from across the UK using the materials."
Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC said "Growing up happy and healthy is the greatest gift we can give to any child. This campaign embodies our mission to inform, educate and entertain. The BBC has created hundreds of videos and written content that we hope will make a real difference."
You can use and share with families, the free films, articles and quizzes explain the science behind baby brain development. They include fun activities to do with both babies and toddlers to support language development and parent wellbeing, along with tips for new and soon-to-be parents.