What's Your chatta Story?

Thinking of joining? Here’s how nurseries, schools, advisors, childminders and children’s centres are using chatta to support speech and language development

Nursery/School

I attended a chatta training course with a colleague. When the day had finished we both felt so inspired. We couldn’t stop coming up with ideas. The first step was training the staff. I used the online videos and resources to run a training session for all of the practitioners, we also purchased an iPad for each of our staff to use. The staff recognise the effectiveness and value of chatta immediately. Everything is so simple. The link between experiences, pictures and language is very powerful. The staff cannot believe how simple things are and we are noticing big improvements in the quality of language used by the children, and actually the staff too. Every child has a chatta profile and we are sharing chats with parents. The response from parents has been amazing. They love learning about what their children are doing and being able to join in with the spoken voice recordings that are part of the chats. The parents are replying to the chats too, they are sharing their experiences and comments with the staff. It’s very powerful and I can see how it all fits together to support spoken language. chatta is just brilliant!

Gemma Grace
Nursery Manager / Little Acorns Nursery

Some of our children are coming into school with significantly lower abilities in speaking and listening. This is causing concern to the local authority. So we got in touch with chatta, excited by the company’s emphasis on language development as the vital bridge between thinking and writing in early years.  The chatta approach has had a significant impact on a number of children, including a four-year-old reception child who was struggling to learn English. It’s really helping. She definitely understands more key vocabulary. She’s grasping quite difficult language concepts such as mud, bark and moss. Her biggest interest is in rabbits. She did not know what a real rabbit was, so we’ve explored lots of specific language around that subject such as size, appearance, habitat and diet. With the chatta app I’ve taken pictures of these animals during forest school sessions and we can look at these back in the classroom, recording our descriptions and attaching the audio file to the images. We can review these ‘chats’ later on and try to build on the language further. As well as supporting children with EAL the programme is also proving a powerful way of helping children in their struggles with prepositional language, as well as giving more confident speakers ways to increase their vocabulary.

chatta is really easy to use and the early indications are that it is making a difference.

Lyons Hall Primary School
Braintree, Essex

It’s quite normal for children to come into nursery with speech delays and difficulties with language and it’s something we are seeing more and more across the city. We were keen to focus on these language issues and got in touch with chattaThe training and support being provided by the chatta team has been invaluable. Our original intention was to use chatta for our pre-school and nursery but I could also find benefits with our SEN children and children with English as an additional language (EAL). The chatta approach is now being used with 20 children at Bellfield – in nursery and reception classes and SEN children from reception to Year 4. We have a four year old girl who was very quiet when she came to us in September. She was finding language very difficult, especially positional language. She needed something to encourage her to start talking so I used the chatta programme one to one with her on a few occasions. She loves cats so I showed her images of a cat in different positions around the room and asked her to say where the cat was. She would try and I would then model the language, saying the cat was on the sofa and she would repeat it. This saying, modelling and repeating approach over several sessions has really helped her in her language development. Now she is only a small step behind the other children. You can hear the progress she has made in the way she talks to the other children.

 

Bellfield Primary School
Hull, East Yorkshire

Pre-school Settings

The children are really enjoying chatta. The children were so excited about their profiles and engaged in conversations or babbling away to themselves. The parents have been excited too. I had an interested conversation with one 2 weeks ago – we we’re discussing her son’s speech, she stated that he was able to say a few words very clearly and others he attempts but not quite there yet. One of the words she said he says clearly is “mine” – I observed him saying this and recorded a chatta moment.

I agreed that it was clear he was attempting to say “mine” (He made a “maaa” noise coupled with a hand outstretched signalling that he wanted the item, whenever a child was playing with the plastic cookies he was playing with) but I gently pointed out that the speech was not as clearly formed as mum had thought.

We had a really positive conversation about this. She stated that as his mother, understandably she is able to know what he is saying even when it is unrecognisable to others. She felt proud of this but stated that it was nice to hear his voice back as it would prompt her to mimic back what he was saying more. When he said “maa” for example after this moment, we then said in the session “That’s right, that is yours. Mine.” in an effort to help him develop his speech.

I will be attempting to make a story sequence with chatta soon – I will take a book that I will read during a session and photograph different pages/images and record my voice reading them – then as I read the story/ let the child play my voice – I will try capture any of their speech. I will aim to pick a book that I know most of the children know well – such as the ‘Gruffalo’.

Children's Centre
Hull, East Yorkshire

Childminders

I started using chatta with the children I look after following a training session delivered by Chris Williams. I am currently using chatta with a boy called Stanley. I regularly use chatta to reflect on the activities of the day and model language for him linked to images. Stanley likes looking back at the images and is very keen to listen back and repeat ‘chats’ we make. He loves hearing his own voice! His mother, Jo, is saving all of the chats I share with her.

Margaret Lonsdale

Advisors

Following excellent chatta training I can see lots of links between our work, as speech and language therapist, and the chatta approach. chatta as a way of improving the practitioner interactions with children and aiding teachers to share language and visual resources again after the event. I was very impressed with the visual, auditory and the chatta practical activities and how the approach will improve language outcomes for children. I can also see benefits to increase the engagement of parents and children by putting language in the home through the use of technology, for parents to share the language with the child and share in their child’s experiences.

Lynne Duckworth
Bridge Speech and Language Therapists

Chris Williams recently held two training session for the East Riding local authority with a focus on “Accelerating early language development through technology” attended by delegates from early years schools and settings. The session presented a new and highly effective teaching approach and provided a range of practical and adaptable activities that will make an immediate impact in an EYFS classroom or setting, particularly on language and communication with activities to support progress in reading, writing and mathematics as well as PSED.
Feedback from delegates show how well this training was received and it will make a sustained impact on the learning and progress of young children in the East Riding.
“Excellent training, really well explained and such an innovative way of using technology to support language development!” “Theory and evidence of the approach was clearly explained. Chris very passionate and encouraging.” “It was very helpful to learn about chatta and the resources to develop communication and language to progress children to their best of ability.”

Marion Hastings
Early Years Improvement Officer (East Riding)

What first drew me to chatta was its unique approach to supporting children’s speech, language and communication skills. Reading about the impact of chatta on the website, I was immediately impressed with the depth of action research, case studies and testimonials from practitioners.

Practitioners spoke with passion, enthusiasm and excitement about chatta. The impact of chatta is clear: improved outcomes for children, increase parental engagement and the promotion of a shared ethos in supporting children’s speech, language and communication skills. Obviously this is down to Chris and David who are the driving force behind chatta. Their absolute dedication to their approach and vision is nothing short of amazing but they are both very clear of their main aim, which is improving the lives of all children. I have been really fortunate to be welcomed into the chatta family. They have shared their vision with me, listened to my ideas and have trusted me to become part of their team.

What I hope for Lincolnshire is that practitioners stay true to their belief of investing in their children’s futures and that they embrace chatta as an approach to empower children.

Jayne Carter
Early Years Consultant, Lincolnshire

Tell us your chatta story