Parents have attended a play session aimed at enabling everyone to have a better understanding of how babies and children develop language and how best their communication development could be enhanced.
Handa’s Surprise Craft and Culture parents and their pre-school children was held at the Belmont Playtrail and run by Derry City Council’s community relations team in partnership with Talking to Our Babies.
Dean Steele, from the community relations team, said the play sessions were a great way to introduce diversity and culture to pre-schoolchildrenby simply explaining a different culture through story, song and craft.
She added: “We want to thank all the parents who brought their children along for the play session and Jennifer for all her help in assisting us to deliver this project.”
Jennifer Griffiths from Shantallow Area Partnership explained Talking to Our Babies was an “early intervention” community programme which aimed to enable everyone to have a better understanding of how babies and children developed language.
She added: “Research highlights the importance of communication in the early years and the significant impact this has on children’s engagement with education and their social experiences.
“Talking To Our Babies promotes this through a campaign approach – for example through ‘Nursery Rhymes’ and promoting ‘More Talk Less TV.’
“Through this wonderful play session, Talking To Our Babies was able to promote to parents the importance and benefits of singing rhymes and songs with young children as they help children to learn about the rhythms and patterns in language as well as supporting communication skills such as; attention, listening, concentration, expression and matching actions and gestures to words.
“Rhymes and songs also help our babies and children to learn about the world around them for example; different cultures, where animals live, counting skills and of course promotes language and interaction with others as fun!
“Part of this wonderful play session saw the children experiment with art materials and create animal masks – this activity supports children’s language, and their creativity, as parents/carer’s explain, discuss, show and talk about colours, textures, patterns and encourage children to make choices.
She concluded: “Central to the activity was our story Handa’s Surprise – story time for all babies and children is essential to support communication development, offering opportunity for discussion, reflection and time to share a story and share a smile thereby encouraging a love of reading that will last a life time.”
This project was funded through the District Council’s Good Relations Programmme.