Speech and Language Therapy (Evelina Award)

Provider

Evelina London Speech and Language Therapy Service.

What is the Evelina Award?

The Evelina Foundation/Enhanced Award for Communication Friendly Environments was developed by the Evelina London speech and language therapy (SLT) team. It serves as a framework to demonstrate how early years settings are providing the supportive environmental features that facilitate speech, language and communication (SLC) development.

As part of the LEAP programme, the Evelina Award was developed in partnership with the Evelina speech and language team to include two-tiers: 

  • Foundation level Evelina Award 

  • Enhanced level Evelina Award. 

The process for achieving the Evelina Award at Foundation or Enhanced level involves a programme of baseline audit, training, coaching and reviews delivered by speech and language therapists.  

The audit tool for the Evelina London Award for Communication Friendly Environments was designed to identify training needs or areas of support required in an EY setting in order for it to be deemed a communication friendly environment.   

Once the SLC training and bespoke SLT support has been provided, subsequent audits will measure change in observable behaviours used by staff, along with evidence of environmental features that support SLC development, thus demonstrating the impact of SLT input on the experiences of the children within the specific EY setting.

Problem being addressed

There is a strong association between children’s speech, language and communication needs and social disadvantage. 

The risk of a child starting school with delayed language skills may be mitigated by strengthening the communication environments they experience during their early years (the quality of adult-child communication and conversation) and by ensuring they receive specialist support where necessary at the earliest opportunity.

Focus of the training

This training supports practitioners in pre-school settings to:

  • Identify speech, language and communication (SLC) needs and refer to speech and language therapy (SLT) where needed.
  • Improve children's communication and language through day-to-day interactions.
  • Track the progress of SLC development for children in their setting.
  • Track their setting's journey towards becoming an Evelina Awarded Communication Friendly Environment.

Who is the training for?

LEAP’s Evelina Award offer has targeted Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) childcare settings. The scope of the project has recently broadened to include some statutory settings such as nursery classes within primary schools.

Speech and Language Therapy

The offer to practitioners

Settings and practitioners who embark on the journey towards the Evelina Award through the LEAP programme will receive:

  • Evelina Audit for Communication Friendly Environment to identify the setting's potential for supporting SLC development as well as training needs. The baseline audit forms the beginning of the journey with the setting and is used to identify training needs, actions or improvements required within the setting.
  • Support from the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team and Communication and Language Development (CLD) leads at LEAP.
  • CPD accredited Evelina SLC Foundation Stage training (two-days training) providing information and activities that will support practitioners to:
    • Understand SLC development and how to support this.
    • Share key messages about supporting SLC development with parents.
    • Use child monitoring tools to map children's SLC development.
    • Identify the difference between SLCN and English as Additional Language (EAL).
    • Know how and when to make referrals to SLT.
    • Use adult-child-interaction (ACI) strategies and activities to support SLC development.

Practitioners will also benefit from:

  • Adult-Child Interaction (ACI) training within the setting.
  • Individualised coaching and tutorial sessions within the setting to support practitioners to:
    • Participate in the audit.
    • Use child-monitoring tools to map children's SLC progress and identify if there is SLCN.
    • Practice Adult-Child Interaction strategies using video-feedback and checklists.
  • Re-auditing to check for progress towards the Evelina Award for Communication Friendly Environments. Once consistent change is observed on subsequent Evelina audits, then the appropriate level of the Evelina award (Foundation/Enhanced) is given to the setting for a 12month period within which they must demonstrate continued use of strategies/environmental supports that facilitate SLC development.  

Publicity of settings' achievement of the award through LEAP and Evelina London Children's Community SLT websites and Facebook page.

How do I take part?

Practitioners can contact LEAP to discuss whether their setting is eligible for this free training offer.

Contact details

LEAP Communication and Language Co-Lead:

Jacqui McDermid (jmcdermid@lambeth.gov.uk or 07525 061850).

Jacqui McDermid

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