Early Years Practitioners
"On going formative assessment is at the heart of effective Early Years practice”
The Teddy Talk Test is a versatile tool for use by Early Years Practitioners (EYPs).
The Teddy Talk Test can help EYPs to identify if a child is on track, exceeding expectations or delayed in their development of speech, language and communication. If delayed, it enables EYPs to reflect on how severe that delay is and any actions that need to be taken. Some settings use it only for children that they have concerns about, while others use it with all children in their setting, using the results to act as a base line assessment when they first start at preschool or nursery. This baseline can then be used to chart progress.
The Teddy Talk Test enables EYPs to observe and record a detailed snap shot of a child’s speech, language and communication skills. It compliments and makes reference to other tools, such as the statutory 'Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum' (DfE 2014), 'Development Matters' (Early Education 2012), 'What to expect when?' (actionforchildren.org.uk) and the 'Every Child a Talker' (ECAT) monitoring tool. It can be used to inform the EYFS Progress Check (2;0-3;0 years) as well as the EYFS Profile (carried out in the final term in the year a child turns 5;0).
Please note: We will continue to monitor the EYFS reforms and welcome the emphasis on strengthening language and vocabulary development to help close the word gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. Should the Early Learning Goals which feature in the Teddy Talk Test 'Ages and Stages' section change, we will be providing updates to those whose have purchased a Teddy Talk Test prior to the changes becoming statutory.
Children presenting with immature communication development may simply require targeted games and activities to develop their emerging skills. The Teddy Talk Test will not only help EYPs to decide where to start, it will also enable them to monitor the child’s progress over time when repeated at 3 monthly/termly intervals.
The Teddy Talk Test will also enable you to reflect on whether the child would benefit from specialist intervention and referral to Speech and Language Therapy (SLT). When making a referral it is helpful to include the child's Teddy Talk Test Record form and Summary sheet. This will provide evidence to justify the decision to refer and will also enable the therapist prepare for meeting the child for the first time. Local guidelines for referral should be followed.
EYPs report that the Teddy Talk Test is a great tool for sharing information regarding a child’s speech and language development with parents and carers. Showing a video of the child completing it can be particularly helpful. Parents may be feeling overly anxious about their child’s development, especially if older brothers and sisters have learnt to talk quickly. If the child is found to be on track, then they can be reassured that all is well. Equally, if parents are unconcerned but the EYP is, then the Teddy Talk Test offers a clear way to explain any concerns identified. Parents can then be supported in discussing next steps for ensuring the necessary support is in place.