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Talk To Your Baby 2017: Early Language in a Connected World

13 March 2017 |10am - 4pm | London Metropolitan University | Download the programme

The legacy of the Talk To Your Baby conference speaks for itself. Renowned for its in-depth and engaging reviews of policy, research and practice, our annual conference highlights the key roles communication and language can play in improving the life chances of children.

Children come into the world ready to learn language. Drawing on new research and practice we consider child to parent interaction, practice in settings and community-wide approaches to increasing language and talk in the early years.

Delegates from across the early years, healthcare, education, cultural and third sectors will come together to hear practitioners and academics share their expertise in improving language and literacy outcomes of preschool children, focusing on ages 0-3.

Chair: Jean Gross CBE

Jean GrossWe are delighted that Jean Gross, the former government Communication Champion for children, will once again chair Talk To Your Baby. Jean is a former teacher and has worked as both an educational psychologist and a manager of local authority children’s services. Until 2005 Jean was a senior director in the Primary National Strategy, responsible for its work on overcoming barriers to achievement.  

Jean is a best-selling author of several books about special educational needs and development of teaching practice around speech and language. She is a frequent advisor to the Department of Education and the Department of Health on their approach to early years provision and is also a founding Trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation and a Trustee of ICAN, the children’s communication charity.

Key note speaker: Professor Elena Lieven

Jean GrossElena Lieven completed her undergraduate degree and Ph.D. on individual differences in early language development in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. She was Editor of the leading specialist journal in the field (the Journal of Child Language) from 1996 – 2005.

Elena's interest in how children learn the range of languages in the world and the similarities and differences in their environments has been a major focus over the years and led to time spent in rural communities of Papua New Guinea and Nepal.

In September 2014, the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) of which Elena is the Director, was established across the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster. Her principal areas of research are: The emergence and construction of grammar; the relationship between input characteristics and the process of language development; and variation in children’s communicative and linguistic environments.

Other speakers 

chProfessor Kathy Sylva OBE

Honorary Research Fellow and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford.

Previously Specialist Adviser to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Education 2000-2009. 
careyChris Cuthbert

Director of Development for the Big Lottery Fund’s  A Better Start programme.

Previously Head of Strategy and Development at the NSPCC. 

Led the cross-Whitehall review on families at risk which resulted in the government’s ‘Think Family’ agenda. 
Laura BarbourLaura Barbour

Interim Head of Programmes at the Sutton Trust, leading in early years’ research and programmes.

Previously part of the management team at UK Youth. 
Jen bio picJen Lexmond

Founder & CEO of EasyPeasy, an app that sends game ideas to parents of pre-school children.

Worked previously with the Behavioural Insights Team, Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Government Digital Service and the Nominet Trust. 
chAllison Potter

Middlesbrough Hub Manager for the National Literacy Trust. 

Literacy Adviser for Middlesbrough Council. 
Laura BarbourLynda McQueen

Sefton School Readiness Manager.

Leads on Language and Communication development across Sefton Early Years sector and also leads on the ‘Five to Thrive’ approach.
Kathryn CroughanKathryn Croughan

Manager and Language Champion in her own setting.

Lead Language Champion for Sefton supporting other settings in developing quality approaches to language and communication development.  
Caspar AddymanCaspar Addyman

Developmental psychologist at Goldsmiths University.

Member of Goldsmith's InfantLab studying how babies and children combine different sensory inputs to control their actions.


£245 per delegate. Network members receive an additional 10% discount.

Date, times and location

13 March 2017 from 10am-4pm (registration and refreshments from 9.15am). 
The conference will be held in The Great Hall at London Metropolitan University,166-220 Holloway Rd, London N7 8DB

Book now.

If adults talk with children effectively—taking the lead from the child, elaborating on what they say, asking questions, sharing rhymes or songs or books— then children are given the best start in developing the cognitive tools they need to succeed at school.

-          Early Intervention Foundation, The Best Start at Home, 2015 


Illustration of a toddlerQuick links

Research: Download our free research reports
Strategic guidance paper: An approach to speech, language and communication
Initiatives: Interesting practice from the UK and abroad
Videos: Informative and useful early communication videos

Illustration of mother and babyFree resources

Download and print these free resources

  • Quick tips in 17 languages 
  • Baby's first word 
  • Bilingualism FAQ

    10/10! One of the best conferences I have attended with a wealth of input for all professionals. Excellent venue and excellent quality of speakers  

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    TTYB 2016 Presentations

    For delegates only - attendees to our last conference should have received a login and password to access these. Please call 020 7587 3067 if you have forgotten your password.

    PowerPoint presentations and videos

    The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
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