Education Talking to toddlers improves their speaking skills

Talking to toddlers improves their speaking skills

As the nation heads back to work, thousands of two-year-olds across the country will head to childcare.

And the chattier their carers the better off they’ll be when it comes to their own speaking skills.

Research from Macquarie University shows the number of words toddlers hear from educators each day influences the way they learn to speak and their school readiness.

The first two years of life are critical for developing language skills.

Macquarie’s Professor Sheila Degotardi studied around 60 two-year-olds in early childhood education centres, recording the amount of talk the children heard from adults over a three-hour period.

Rooms where adults talked more had more language-enhancing exchanges.

With one-in-four Aussie kids attending childcare before they turn two, the findings offer vital insight into how we ensure children have the language skills they need to succeed at school.

Worryingly, one-in-five Australian children start school with insufficient language skills.

“Children’s early language development before the age of two sets the foundation for their academic success at school,” Professor Degotardi says.

“Substantial research findings from overseas show that the number of words that children hear in their first few years of life contributes significantly to their future language and academic skills.”

The study also showed that having university-qualified early childhood teachers in childcare rooms led to higher quality language interactions.

“Their deep professional knowledge lets them lead their team to establish experiences and use interaction behaviours that enhance language development,” Professor Degotardi says.

Research to improve early childhood education is only possible if we support our universities. To keep Australia clever, please sign the petition below.