This project addressed the school readiness of children through the professional development of preschool educators. Many early childhood intervention programs focus on general quality and give less emphasis to the specific interactions between children and educators. These interactions are especially important for fostering communication skills among young children as early communication skills have been found to predict children’s later achievement in math, reading, and science, making these skills critical for school readiness and academic success. There is a need for early childhood educators to maximize children’s communication skills through social interactions and play. This is especially critical for children from low-income families, who have been found to have weaker language skills than children from more resourced families.
This project created More Than Baby Talk: 10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers, a brief guide that describes ten practices that early childhood teachers can use to foster language and communication skills among infants and toddlers. The guidelines are based upon the latest research findings on optimal adult-child interactions for promoting strong language and communication skills among young children. The target audience for the key practices is educators working in Early Head Start (EHS) programs.