Mums and babies from Sure Start centres in Derry/Londonderry this week enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a unique vocal wonderland designed to support speech and language development in the 0-18 month age group. Little Hands Sure Start in partnership with Rosemount Primary School, played host to the Babble Bubble, a unique dome construction in which Replay Theatre Company create a magical world of voices, music and moving images.
Gerry Conway, Chair of the Western Area Childcare Partnership, said: “I am delighted to welcome Replay Theatre Company and the Babble concept to the city as we launch our ‘Now You’re Talking’ Campaign. Arts and creativity are essential elements of early years learning and speech and language development.
“The launch of the Babble Bubble in the city here this week heralds a range of early years’ learning activities which comprise the ‘Now You’re Talking’ Campaign. This opportunity to raise the profile of early years’ speech and language development during the City of Culture celebrations reflects our pride in supporting this very important year for Derry/ Londonderry.
“I would also like to thank staff from all Sure Start and early years’ organisations for their support and contributions to making the launch such a success.”
The ‘Now You’re Talking’ Campaign comprises a series of events for families over coming months aimed at promoting speech and language development in children aged 0-3 years through a multi-sensory approach which includes activities like drama, poetry, song, physical play and outside play. The campaign also aims to support all early years staff across the city through a variety of training opportunities
Anna Newell, Artistic Director with Replay Theatre Company, said: “Babble reflects our company’s work in creating cultural and artistic opportunities for the many different audiences we work with. Replay Theatre Company is passionate about making theatre that is absolutely right for our audiences. We are delighted to take this opportunity to perform in Derry/Londonderry as part of the City of Culture 2013 celebrations.”
The ‘Now You’re Talking’ Campaign, co-ordinated by the Western Childcare Partnership, is a partnership initiative involving staff from a wide range of organisations. These include local Sure Start organisations, Book Trust, Illex, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency and the Western Trust together with early years learning professionals from the education sector.
Clare McGartland, Commissioner for Allied Health Professions with the Public Health Agency, said: “The ‘Now You’re Talking’ Campaign demonstrates the excellent collaborative working arrangements built up by the Western Area Childcare Partnership over the years. Initiatives like Babble provide further opportunities to share innovative and creative practice and learning in early years’ service provision.
“This excellent example of partnership working demonstrates how statutory sector agencies, parents and voluntary and community organisations can work effectively together in these early years to ensure that the foundations for learning are laid. This launch highlights the importance of early intervention in improving speech and language acquisition, especially for the most disadvantaged in our society.”
The Babble Bubble is in Derry/Londonderry from Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th at Little Hands Sure Start at Rosemount Primary School, Helen Street, and then at Clooney Hall, Clooney Terrace, Waterside on Thursday 28th March.
Anne Gamble, Head of Service for Speech & Language Therapists in the Western Trust said “Communication is an essential life skill for all and it underpins our children’s social, emotional and educational development. The Babble Bubble enhances early communication development stimulating their senses during this crucial period from antenatal to 18 months.”
For further information contact Mary Elizabeth Hagenson at the health and Social Care Board on 028 7186 0086 or by email at Maryelizabeth.Hagenson@hscni.net.