A review of the evidence on early language development, commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation in the UK in partnership with Public Health England, has examined the most effective ways to support young children with delays in their early language development between birth and five years old.
James Law and colleagues looked at the existing evidence to find out which interventions have the greatest potential for boosting young children’s language skills and reducing inequalities in outcomes. They identified 44 intervention studies which focused on language and related skills in preschool. All the studies were randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental, matched study designs. The findings were as follows:
- Positive effect sizes were found in relation to receptive language in 29 studies. They found one of the best ways to improve early language development for this group is through training for teachers in early years settings so that they can deliver cost-effective and evidence-based interventions to those children who have fallen behind.
- In addition to high-quality early years provision, the researchers identified interactions with parents as key, highlighting the need to promote positive interaction between parents and their children before they start preschool.
The report also stresses the need for better monitoring of children’s progress at different stages of their development, to catch those children falling behind and to identify those who need targeted, specialized support.
Source (Open access): Law, J., Charlton, J., Dockrell, J., Gascoigne, M., McKean, C. & Theakston, A. (2017). Early Language Development: Needs, provision, and intervention for preschool children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds :A Report for the Education Endowment Foundation. London: Education Endowment Foundation.