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Highlight a Partner – Cris Lakeman – Every Child Our Future – ECOF

Every Child Our Future is committed to early intervention with a large part of our work being delivered in the early years sector. We have a significant project that sits within the Best Start Partnership, we are piloting a project that seeks to find out how speech and language therapists working in schools can change outcomes for children in the foundation stage with the hope of extending this work in the future.

We also deliver a programme in partnership with UK charity Coram Beanstalk called Story Starters. Our trained volunteers go into local nurseries and develop children’s language through individual story reading and sharing of books. The children really appreciated the one-to-one time and the volunteers are rewarded by seeing the children develop over time.

We recently introduced a new project that focuses on language opportunities for multilingual learners. With the help of both the Level 3 Childcare students from Highlands and the Portuguese GCSE class from Haute Vallee school children in local nurseries have been able to enjoy a story in either Portuguese or Polish. These talented young people have not only strengthened the language foundations of the nursery children but also sent a message about the value of their home language and a celebration of their identities the feedback so far has been really positive.

Having previously worked for the government for over thirty years it is great to be able to work for this charity providing a different kind of support for local children. This year Every Child Our Future aims to deliver over 10,000 volunteer hours. Our volunteers are trained and DBS checked and give their time each week to benefit our local community – they are super stars!