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Evidence-led programmes

PACEY menu cardPACEY is working with Action for Children, I CAN and the Office for Public Management on a two-year project supporting childcare professionals to use evidence-led programmes. The project is being funded by the Department for Education and is being delivered to childcare settings across England.

I CAN Early Talk programme

Part of the two-year project is the I CAN Early Talk programme, which has been devised to develop the skills of childcare professionals in the vital area of children’s communication. Early Talk does this through staged training packages, mentoring and service development which includes accreditation.

The programme is being delivered by both Action for Children coordinators and PACEY associates. Action for Children has appointed six childminder coordinators across 14 children’s centres in six local authorities. These coordinators will conduct a range of tasks including supporting the recruitment of new childminders to meet demand for free early education, wraparound and holiday care for disadvantaged and vulnerable children. They will also offer childminders different forms of support including help with registration, access to grants and training in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development.

Action for Children and PACEY have trained and supported licensed trainers to deliver the I CAN Early Talk programme to 1,080 childminders and 70 staff in private, voluntary and independent childcare settings. This will support childcare professionals to develop expertise in the prime areas of the EYFS: communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development.

How does the training work?

The I CAN training is delivered over one day and is being rolled out in Burnley, Oxford, Norfolk, Sandwell, Oldham and Hampshire. These areas have been identified by Action for Children and the roll-out is being coordinated with local children centres. The training is divided into four units:

  • What is communication and language?
  • What you can do to develop communication and language?
  • Creating a communication enabling environment
  • What difficulties might children experience? Who can help?

Each session ends with target setting, which focuses on actions to support children’s communication development in the individual setting. Each childcare professional is provided with a participant book and a working-with-under-5s toolkit. This unique toolkit provides childcare professionals with a range of resources to help  them understand and enable good practice in supporting children’s speech, language and communication. As well as helping practitioners to develop sustainable good practice within their setting, the resources include materials to give to parents to reinforce learning at home.


In addition, three of the PACEY associates have been trained to carry out I CAN Early Talk accreditation with 18 childminders. On successful completion these childminders will  gain accredited status.   

Why is PACEY involved?

PACEY’s knowledge and expertise in the childcare sector enables us to support the delivery and roll-out of the I CAN Early Talk programme. Nine PACEY Associates with specialist knowledge and an interest in children’s communication were selected to take part by training and supporting licensed trainers, enabling them to deliver communication and language training across a variety of childcare settings.

Case study

Elizabeth Sudall, a childminder in Burnley, shares her experience of the training:

"I attended I CAN training in January 2014 at Burnley Wood Children's Centre. Prior to attending the course I had not heard of I CAN, or what training they provided for childcare professionals.

The course was very informative, giving lots of examples of communication, language and ways to plan and record a child's progress on these areas. Group work enabled discussion with other settings and ways of looking at improving communication in children.

At the end of the course we all received an I CAN toolkit, containing flash cards for babies, toddlers and older children; record sheets to track a child's progress; posters, booklets and other relevant references. It also included games to play with children to help them point out and recognise colours, shapes, pictures of things they do in their daily routine (such as brushing their teeth), which they can put in the correct order. All of the resources provide children with a fun way of learning language and communication skills.

Following the training, I held an I CAN sponsored charity event, in association with the character 'Humf'. The children sang and we had a craft activity where they made their own bunny rabbits out of cotton wool and card. We also had story time where I read two books to them. Children had a great time talking, singing and laughing with one another. In fact, they all still have their own bunny rabbit and talk about it, from the photographs I have displayed in our play room. This event enabled the children aged between 2-3 to be involved in group work, stories, dancing, singing and crafts, which was teamed with lots of new words and communication between each other.

Since this event, I have recently started the I CAN accreditation training. This has been extremely beneficial, as it has brought to attention areas within my setting that require additional resources and planning, such as the use of phonics.

With the recent news from the government that a high percentage of children in early years settings are not 'school ready' when entering reception class, I feel that by completing the I CAN accreditation training, I can implement positive additions with communication and language, to the children I care for, giving them the best stepping stones for their future."

If you would like to find out more about the project or if you live in one of the areas where the training is being rolled out (mentioned above), please contact us.