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New study links early language to child well-being

A new study from the Early Intervention Foundation has found that child well-being is closely linked to early language skills.

The research found that early language has an impact on all aspects of young children’s non-physical development, including the ability to manage emotions and communicate feelings; to establish and maintain relationships; to think symbolically; and to learn to read and write.

Between five and eight per cent of children in the UK have early language difficulties, and for children from disadvantaged households the figure is closer to 20 per cent. Children with poor language skills at age five are more likely to have reading difficulties as an adult, more likely to have mental health problems, and more likely to be unemployed. 

EIF is calling for early language development to be prioritised as a child well-being indicator, so that it must be treated as a public health issue, like vaccination, obesity and mental health. It would also like to see improved monitoring of language development in the preschool years

Recent research from the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) found that childminders have a particularly positive impact on young children’s language development. Children attending a childminding setting were also found to have fewer emotional symptoms and more behavioural self-regulation.