The Nuffield Nursery Language Programme
Children who enter school with poorly developed language are at high risk of educational failure and it is imperative that they receive intervention before they fail to learn.
This project aims to develop a preschool language programme to ameliorate the language weaknesses seen in disadvantaged groups at school entry. Building on best evidence, the project team will develop and evaluate a language enrichment programme for children in the year before they enter reception class. The programme will be delivered during daily whole-group sessions by nursery staff, trained by the project team to use scripted materials. Materials will be developed with input from Early Years practitioners to ensure the programme is flexible enough to be adapted for future use in diverse nursery contexts and that content is appropriate to the curriculum. The programme has the potential to bring about educationally significant improvements in children’s language skills during a critical developmental period (the year before formal education begins) and to reduce the inequalities in educational attainment associated with social disadvantage.