Lighting up Young Brains

Lighting up Young Brains

“Lighting up young brains” is a report that was published in England last year where it was documented that almost 130,000 children in England found themselves disadvantaged by poor language ability.  These are quite shocking statistics that have come about by a team of Neuroscientists who are calling for more to be done with Children at pre-school age or the “lightbulb” years.  They are challenging the misconception that learning can wait for school as if a child starts on their first day behind they tend to stay behind.  Failure to develop adequate language skills can leave children struggling to learn in the classroom.  What has been learned from this study is that we need to stimulate a child’s brain earlier before they start school as most of their brain growth is done in this time and can be the foundation for their learning ability ongoing through life .  Evidence showed that playtime can be made “braintime” with a combination of talking, word games and singing said the experts.  Such an approach stimulated early language and communication skills and provided the “building blocks” for learning.

I don’t think I have come across a better  study that compounds all the elements that we have put into our Chatterboxes programme.  We are passionate about bringing early language and communication skills to children at pre-school and Montessori level as we believe this is the best start you can give you children starting school.

Take a look at the study yourself



Contact us if you would like to bring Chatterboxes to your facility

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Pre-School Staff Training

Pre-School Staff Training

Pre-School Staff Training

Many Childcare Staff report that they are not as confident as they would like to be in knowing what children should be doing at different ages and stages, how to support good language skills and how to spot those children who may be struggling.

Chatterboxes has been developed with this in mind our aim is to offer Childcare staff training before the children start the Chatterboxes programme and also we aim to educate parents on what they can do at home to encourage a language rich environment for their child.

Language is vital in order to learn, make friends and feel confident.  Poor Language skills puts children at risk of poor reading and writing, poor behaviour, poor exam results and falling behind in school.

We have recently completed Chatterboxes with a class of 15 children who were in Junior Infants where teachers were struggling to start the curriculum as the children’s language skills were so poor.  Ensuring Children’s language skills are where they should be for their age will make the transition into primary school easier for not only the child but also the teacher’s who are trying to complete the curriculum with your child.

For further info on Staff Training Contact us on

Chatterboxes Week 2 Schoil Mhuire


Today was our 2nd visit out to Schoil Mhuire and all of the children were wonderful little Chatterboxes again today! They really enjoy working with Chip. We did lots of fun things today, but here are some of the activities that can be done at home too! Talk to you child about their time in Chatterboxes and what they did today, and if they had fun! Today we did lots of listening and practised big and small as well as prepositions such as on/under/in front/behind/next to. We also practised asking questions to guess a picture. The children each took a turn to tell Karen and Chip the “Goldilocks and the three little bears’ story.


Home activities

“Simon says” was a hit again today and is a great game to play to help your child build on their listening skills. Remember to use objects as actions.


Sometimes words such as on/under/in front/behind can be a little tricky. Throughout the day ask your child to help you tidy-up by placing things “on the shelf/table/worktop”, “under the bed/chair/stairs/sink”, in front of the door/kettle/teddy” etc. Also talk about where things are (for example “look the teddy is hiding behind the chair” etc.


Books are a great way to engage with your child and help build language skills. When reading with your child, stress and repeat the key parts of the story such as ‘who’ is in the story (characters), what happens at the beginning, the middle and the end and how the character feels. Stories and books that are repetitive are good to help children remember these aspects. Once you have read or told a story to your child, see if they can re-tell the story remembering all the main ideas. Encourage your child to tell the story in the correct order by say things like “what happened first” , “what did he do next” and “what happened at the end”. We are going to talk about telling stories in more detail in our next parent session.

Chatterboxes Team.

Chatterboxes programme rolls out in Scoil Mhuire, Shankill

We were delighted to present our programme to parents of junior infants in Scoil Mhuire, Rathsallagh this week.  The school have brought Chatterboxes to the their school to enhance and give the children a boost in their language skills.  The programme will run with the Children having a 6 weeks of Chatterboxes and Parents will have 3 workshops with the Chatterbox team.

We gave parents lots of ideas and tips on how to find way throughout their day with their child to encourage their language skills.  All that they are probably doing but just mindfully adding it into their day even for only 5 minutes on the way to school or when they are going shopping.  By having school, children and parents on board the children really will benefit from our programme.

We cannot wait to meet with the children next week and look forward to our next workshop with parents to see how they got on.

Here are some of the things we covered in our workshop

  1. Let your child lead the play or activity so that he is talking  about something which interests him.

2. Wait for your child to say something. Some children need time to think of what to say and time to find the words.

3.  Ask Less questions because no one likes being asked a stream of questions!

4. Repeat your child’s words and sentence back to him correctly so that he hears good examples. That way you are providing a good model of language for your child and you are letting them know you have heard them!

Add language: Talk about what is happening in the here and now with your child. also, try to build on what they say by adding an additional word to what they say, for example if your child says “look at that dog” you could say “wow looks at that a big dog” or “wow that is a big dog”. adding language will allow your child to hear a great number and variety of words.

Slow down your rate of speech and make sure you have your child’s full attention before you give him an instruction

Say less: don’t overload your child with too much language

Stress and emphasis key words (for example “get your shoes and your bag” or “that teddy is soft”

Show: point, show, add actions, gestures to help your child understand



Chatterboxes Facebook Page

Don’t forget to give us a like and share on Facebook  There will be lots of handy tips on encouraging play and communication for your little ones

New Dates for Chatterbox Tiny Tots Program

Chatterboxes is back in Mount Merrion Community Centre in the New Year starting 8th January Friday @ 10am. Mothers and Toddlers will enjoy this group as parents will get an opportunity to see their child have fun and interact with other children while their language and communication skills are being encouraged.  Parents will get fantastic  tips from our  speech and Language therapists on how to encourage language throughout their day with their Tiny Tots and in a fun way.

To book your place on Chatterboxes contact us through email on


Launching the New Chatterboxes Website

roisin chatterboxes

We are delighted to launch our new website in conjunction with the Chatterboxes Programme!

Chatterboxes is a fun and interactive program to help foster language, play and early literacy skills. The 3 different Programmes aim to help children express themselves creatively and gain a greater understanding of the world through language.

Chatterboxes is organised and delivered by Karen O Driscoll, Speech and Language Therapist. During the Programme, Parents, Childcare Staff and Teachers will gain a great understanding of child development.

We aim to develop and foster understanding/comprehension through activities and games, as well as develop oral language skills in a structured and fun environment. The program aims to establish an atmosphere that encourages talk and discussion, and allows children to listen carefully to each other’s contributions, ideas and interests to extend conversations.

Chatterboxes focus on strengthening oral language skills such as negotiating, describing, offering ideas, advice and suggestions. We also aim to give children the language skills used to describe feeling and emotions: story time and narrative development, re-telling events/stories, sequencing games, answering questions, as well as development of vocabulary through learning about the world – myself, my family, my friends and my home.

The Play and interaction skills, such as parallel play, cooperate and pretend play, encourage children to help each other during the activities, as they share skills and knowledge with each other.

Please help us spread the word on encouraging every child to become a Chatterbox!!!