What is a Speech and Language Champion?
Speech and Language Champions are nominated staff in Children’s Centres and EY settings who take on the role of flying the flag for the importance of excellent communication for the benefit of all children.
What do Champions do?
Champions take the lead on developing excellent practice in the staff team. They are provided with screening tools to measure children’s speech, language and communication skills, and they respond to the needs of children and their families by providing support when needed. Champions are asked to make sure that information about speech and language development is available to families, and they might be responsible for specific interventions for children who are finding it more difficult to learn to talk. Champions also have a role in developing the environment that children use so that it can be ‘communication-friendly’.
How can I become a Speech and Language Champion?
Any staff member can become a Champion with the agreement of their manager and in discussion with ‘time to talk’™; we ask that all Champions complete Tier 1-3 training.
What support do Champions get?
‘time to talk’™ offer ongoing support and development for Speech & Language Champions
- termly cluster meetings for peer support, networking, updates, tailored Continuing Professional Development;
- annual conference to celebrate Champions’ efforts and achievements, to showcase innovation and to learn more about speech, language and communication;
- peer support through clusters of settings/centres;
- access to ‘time to talk’™ support;
- support with language enrichment;
- support with partnership e.g. working with Community Speech and Language Therapists;
- access to resources (posters, leaflets, ‘chatter matters’™ week);
- support with strategic planning and communication-friendly environments.
How do we show that we are implementing ‘time to talk’™?
We ask that Champions take responsibility for speech, language and communication within their EY Setting or Children’s Centre by the following activities:
- complete full training (Tiers 1-3)
- monitor children’s speech, language and communication development
- offer WellComm screens when indicated
- implement language enrichment
- share information and strategies with families
- develop and sustain a communication friendly environment
- engage with other professionals including the local Speech and Language Therapist to support children’s communication
- complete an annual setting Self-Evaluation Form
We don’t expect Champions to do all these things immediately, but ‘time to talk’™ training and ongoing support equips Champions with the knowledge and tools to develop these activities.
Once Champions have implemented these activities consistently, they are invited to complete an optional portfolio of evidence in order to be awarded the ‘time to talk’™ enhanced certificate.