Developing the Chatter

Chris Williams, founder of “chatta” and language development expert, explores ideas and activities parents and childminders can use to support children’s development in communication and language development. In the second of a series of articles, he suggests activities and ideas for children aged 1 to 2

12-24 months: A time of rapid development

During this period a child's skills and sensory awareness develop at a rapid rate. Everything seems attractive and worth touching, smelling, and tasting. Toddlers are full of energy, active and curious. Every game, interaction and activity is an opportunity for language. Developing children need to hear more words. Names for things, colours, places and people.

How children learn to speak

The way children learn to speak is based on the experiences they have and the words they hear. They learn from the interactions they see and experience. Adults support children’s development through informal conversations, through songs and rhymes with movements and through shared reading. Asking children to discuss stories or real events helps them develop their language skills, their thinking and understanding of the world.

Books and reading

Reading with children is an essential habit to form and to include in every daily routine. Stories aren’t just for bedtime. Stories teach children words and help them develop a sense of order and sequence. Stories promote imagination, questioning, discussion and interaction. Here are some great books to read for under 2s.

• Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

• Gorilla by Anthony Browne

• The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

• The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

• Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Apps and Technology

There are many digital games and apps that can offer appealing educational value but the use of some of these can be at the cost of essential early interactions and opportunities for speaking. There is evidence that Infants with more hand-held screen time have an increased risk of an expressive speech delay. The best way to use technology with children is to use smartphones and tablets to take photos of the things they enjoy doing. This will provide a pocket-sized photo album, which can be shared and talked about time and time again. Pictures of any enjoyable and memorable experiences can be a perfect starting point for conversations. Take pictures of games, places, people, favourite foods, pets, buildings.. in fact anything and everything.

Visit places

There are countless places on our doorstep that offer free and exciting local outings. Every trip is an opportunity to learn and build experiences. Every day there are opportunities for conversations about the weather, how busy places are, wildlife around and the trees and flowers noticed in the gardens you pass along the way.

Things to try:

• Visit a local park and look at the gardens and animals as well as enjoying the swings.

• Catch a bus together, sit upstairs and experience a different view.

• Take a look at front gardens along your street, which are your favourites?</>

• Call in to the local library, sit together and explore the children’s books.

•Take a local walk and stop to sit on public benches and play I-spy.

Physical Play

Children aged between 1 and 2 continue to develop physically, once they have learned they are always on the move. There are lots of simple and stimulating activities that can become part of daily and weekly routines

• Make Time for walking.

• Get dancing. Pick a favourite song and dance to it every day.

• Playing with puzzles, blocks, stacking and nesting toys, lacing materials, etc., to develop fine motor skills.

• Playing with musical instruments.

• Finger painting, using crayons, and large markers

• Playing catch with a ball

Taking Turns

Simple board games can promote turn-taking and interaction. But of course there are lots of other good ways to instigate interaction and turn-taking. Talking during play “my turn, your turn” for instance, is a vital way to model interactions. Playing games helps children develop the skills to use when they are playing with other children.

Try these games:

• Snap

• Ker-plunk

• Pop up Pirate

• Jenga

• Connect 4

Development Summary

Between the ages 1 and 2 children should be able to:

• Know a few parts of the body and point to them when asked.

• Follow simple commands (“Roll the ball”) and understand simple questions (“Where’s your shoe?”).

• Enjoy simple stories, songs and rhymes.

• Point to pictures, when named, in books.

• Acquire new words on a regular basis.

• Use some one- or two-word questions (“Where doggy?” or “Go home?”).

• Put two words together (“More milk”).

• Use many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

The importance of listening skills

It is crucial that children develop the ability to listen in order to interact and communicate with the world efficiently. As children improve their listening, they become better equipped to develop their language, social and learning skills.

These activities can help promote strong listening skills.

- Take a listening walk. Stop at different locations and listen to the sounds that can be heard. Point in the direction of the sound, is it loud or quiet? Can you imagine what it might be? Play an “I-hear game ( like I-spy).

- Play Simon Says. It doesn’t need to be Simon of course, it could be a familiar toy or story character. This is a great game to help develop careful listening skills.

- Play copycat games. This can involve clapping patterns and taking turns to copy the pattern. It can also be good for songs and words, sing songs, notes and tunes and encourage children to copy them back.

How can chatta help?

Chatta has been designed to ensure progress in early language for all children. The approach uses an app to capture images of events in a child’s life, along with the spoken words that accompany the events.

Childminders are able to share “talking postcards” with parents. One childminder,

Margaret Lonsdale, explained: “Whenever I do something new or exciting with the children we have a chat together. We put the images together and talk about what we did. When I send the chats to parents they are able to have the same conversations with their children, and even try out new ideas. I love using chatta with my children.”

Chatta is available at a discounted price for Morton Michel ChildCare Club members.

Summer 2017

News Archive

Complete the Morton Michel annual survey and you could WIN a £100 more

So if you’ve been following the advice from Caroline Noel in more

Now there’s a no-mess way your youngsters can paint wherever they are more

Chris Williams, founder of “chatta” and language more

Did you know allergies affect more than 25% of children in Europe? How more

We are really pleased to announce that with effect from 1st September 2017, more

Two and half years after it was first announced in the 2015 General Election, more

Government IT projects do not have a particularly good track record. This more

In March, the then Childcare minister Caroline Dinenage announced that more

Childcare Expo Midlands is back for 2017 with an unmissable programme more

It's your last chance to receive your Morton Michel's Magic Miles more

Macmillan Cancer Support’s much-loved World’s Biggest more

The Nursery Catering Company (NCC) has launched its summer vegetarian more

My Family Week celebrates families of all shapes and sizes, allowing more

Get ready to be inspired by the leading influencers and suppliers from more

Morton Michel are delighted to have teamed up with Make-A-Wish UK more

Last week the inquest into the death of Nasar, a 14-year-old boy from more

Children and babies are prone to head injuries as they have more

An online services marketplace has created a GCSE style quiz to see how more

A top au pair agency is leading a revolution in the holiday market by more

An event for everyone in the early years community will be opening its more

Childcare minister Caroline Dinenage MP chose Childcare Expo to make more

One of the UK’s leading voices on physical activity in the early more

The Department for Education has re-launched its start-up grants for more

A unique, affordable conference for Childminders and all Early more

Childcare Expo London have just announced their bursting educational more

Home childcarers are being urged to get involved with Save the Children’ more

Morton Michel has revamped its Childminder Help website to help more

Just 10% of under-fives meet NHS guidelines for physical activity of more

A £4.4 million government fund has backed a new anti-bullying app as more

Results of this year’s phonics screening check show a continued rise more

Chief Medical Officers in the UK have written a letter to more

Kidstogo has launched a Characteristics of Effective Learning pack, its more

Children’s charity Action for Children (AfC) has taken over most of more

Organic baby food brand with a Mediterranean twist Piccolo, has launched more

Drinks brand The Berry Company has launched a range of children’s more

Morton Michel’s annual design competition has proven to be a more

With only a few weeks to go, Childcare Expo is looking forward to welcoming more

Online printable resource supplier is getting into the summer more

Public health minister Jane Ellison MP has told childminders and more

Childminders and other early-years practitioners now have an opportunity more

Practitioners need to support parents as much as they can when it comes more

A new wearable device designed to boost language development in babies more

Practitioners should not overlook puppets as engaging and effective more

The early-years sector is in prime position to deliver national health goals, more

Manchester welcomed Childcare Expo with open furry arms last week at more

Morton Michel is delighted to announce the launch of their brand new website!read more

Never before has children’s health been deemed a ‘ more

Morton Michel has launched two new online forums for the childcare more

The number of nannies voluntarily registered with Ofsted has risen, reversing more

Play deprivation must be addressed, the All Party Parliamentary Group on a more

Family and disability charities welcomed childcare minister Sam Gyimah’ more

The Northamptonshire Childminding Association (NCA) has launched a more

Two experienced teachers, authors and education advisers have launched a more

An alliance of early-years organisations is stating its opposition to more

The Care Inspectorate’s annual report on early learning and more

Children’s Communication Charity I CAN has launched a new intervention; more

Northern Ireland’s consultation on the region’s proposed more

Deborah Lawson, general secretary of Voice, the union for more

Childcarers have a fun new way to keep the car clean and tidy thanks to more

Increasing the free childcare provision to 30 hours is “going to more

Education and childcare minister Sam Gyimah visited Paris for two days more

Morton Michel’s annual design competition has proven to be a more

Maybe you’re a nanny looking to become a childminder or you have more

If one word had to sum up Childcare Expo Midlands last week it would have to more

A few short months into his time as the Minister for Childcare in a more

A new anti-inactivity programme is targeting children as young as five- more

Childminders in England will soon be able to operate from suitable more

Research from Post Office gift-card One4all revealed children’s more

Many youngsters will be crossing roads for the first time independently more

Awarding organisation NCFE has acquired the Council for Awards in Care, more

This autumn marks the 6th year for Childcare Expo at Coventry’s more

A recent contributor to Home Childcarer was named in the Queen’s more

This September, the Ricoh Arena in Coventry will once again be fizzing more

The Children’s Activities Association (CAA) will be a UK first; more

Schools will have to start publishing their childcare provision more

The Department for Education has issued new guidance for practitioners on more

The National Early Years Trainers & Consultants Organisation (NEYTCO) more

London’s Olympia was a hive of activity last month as early more

Early years practitioners are being urged to take part in a research more

Devon County Council (DCC) has renewed its contract with training provider more

New government funding will be given to councils to help them prepare for more

The government has launched a competition to develop a mobile app to more

We all know the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and anyone more

Ofsted-inspection tracking website Watchsted now collects and more

The government’s childcare business-grant scheme has been extended for more

A new national organisation for early-years trainers launched at an event more

Nursery staff and childminders will be expected to report pre-school more

Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, and Childcare and Education, Minister more

The first childminder agency in England has been given the green more

After holding a consultation, the Government has confirmed that childminders, more

The government’s Childcare Business Grant Scheme, offering grants of more

Childcare minister Sam Gyimah has written to the childcare sector to more

The Welsh government has launched a 10-year plan for the early years, more

A coalition of charities has launched the Read On. Get On. campaign more

Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders have all shown an improvement, more

Inspections of nurseries rated as ‘require improvement’ are to more

The Department for Education has confirmed that Sam Gyimah is the new more

Childcare providers will have their funding withdrawn if they do more

Sam Gyimah, MP for East Surrey, has replaced Elizabeth Truss as more

David Hoare, a trustee of the Academies Enterprise Trust, has been appointed more

The House of Lords has launched an inquiry into how affordable childcare is more

Over two-thirds of nurseries and childminders fear the new Tax-Free more

Montessori Centre International (MCI) has announced a new Diploma in more

Monday 2nd June 2014 – The day the childcare sector took over more

The number of childminders has fallen by over 2,000 in the last six months, more

Early years regulator, Ofsted, has clarified and simplified its more

Kingston University psychologist Dr Jo Van Herwegen has warned that if more

Employers of nannies were left angry and confused in April after more

The Government announced a freeze on Ofsted fees for childminders on the more

New laws giving play opportunities for children across Wales will soon more

All home childcarers are invited to celebrate Morton Michel’s more

Women and equalities minister Maria Miller recently reminded more

Norland, the world famous Early Years training college, is the UK’s more

Early years regulator, Ofsted, has launched a consultation on how more

A political row has erupted over the sacking of Ofsted chief, Baroness more

Morton Michel, the leading childcare insurance provider in the UK, more

The first year under the new Ofsted inspection framework judged more

The Government is pressing ahead with its plans to introduce more

The official launch of the Register of Playwork Professionals was more

A new online safe driver qualification designed specifically for more

Early-years training provider People & Business Development Ltd (PBD) more

The number of children being care for by childminders in Scotland rose in more

The site features news and information about the Campaign, including more

After reviewing proposals from over 100 different organisations interested more

Parents will have to start paying money into a pension scheme for their more

The Welsh government launched its first childcare and early years plan, more

Change4Life has launched a campaign to ensure children maintain a more

From this month until December, schools, colleges and youth groups across more