Monday, 14 May 2012

Talking is just the ticket

By Eve Wagg, Programme Manager for Talk of the Town
Girls at the Museum of Science and Industry

This weekend I went to a farm with my nephew Tom and I’m not sure who had more fun - me or him. We fed the pigs, learnt that goats are great swimmers (who knew?), and had a yummy cream tea at the local cafe. It got me thinking that we all love a trip or day out, whatever our age. 

A very similar experience happened at the Trust last week, when we were fortunate enough to be able to support a primary school in Wythenshawe to take children, joined by a parent, to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. Not only was this the first time some of the children had gone to a museum but it was also the first time that parents were invited to join a school trip.

There was a real buzz across the day from the parents, children and staff. Parents were given a booklet that encouraged lots of interaction as children looked at exhibits. All the parents commented on the fun they had with their children and the staff were so delighted with the day that they are already planning another for next year.

This trip was funded by a much larger project called Talk of the Town which is a community led approach to supporting speech, language and communication in children from 0-19. It’s currently being piloted in a small part of Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, with the support of the local community.  

As part of the project we’re looking at providing lots of opportunities for parents to engage in their child’s speech and language development as we know this is really important if they are to become confident communicators. 

We’re running lots of parent activities including volunteer-led projects offering training for parents and the local children’s centres are running increasingly popular ‘Stay and Play’ sessions and setting up new activities for families including ‘Babbling Babies’ sessions. We’re also working closely with the local museum teams to offer trips like last week’s. 

Museums offer a lot to talk about as there are things you see that you don’t come across every day. They are also usually free and offer free activity packs for children. But museums aren’t the only activities that offer great ways to support communication – simple things like putting a few minutes aside every day for talking together with no background noise; exploring new words as you come across them and praising good communication can all help. Lots more opportunities for encouraging conversation happen on outings and some ideas can be found in our Summer Talk pack here (

I don’t know about you but I’m already planning my next trip. I’m thinking about the new local park as I’m sure Tom will love feeding the ducks and I may just be able to have a go on the swings... 

To find out more about Talk of the Town, click here (   

No comments: