The earliest years make the biggest impact. Home-Start’s Home-Talk programme makes sure those years count so that no child’s future is limited.

Research has shown that the number of words children hear in their first days, months and years have a huge impact on their development in later life.

There is an estimated gap of over 30 million words heard by children from more disadvantaged backgrounds by the age of four¹, and children from higher-income families typically have twice the vocabulary size of children from lower-income families.

Which is why Home-Start is working with the American organisation, the LENA Foundation, to bring their language development project LENA Home ™ to the UK.

What is Home-Talk?

Home-Talk is a coaching programme for parents of children from birth to three years of age. Trained volunteers support families in their own homes to increase their communication and interaction with their child to ensure they get the best start in life.

A structured programme over 12 weekly visits is supported by the use of ground-breaking technology developed by the LENA Foundation, which gives families personalised data on how many words a child is hearing and how many conversations they are engaged in. This information allows parents to work with their volunteer to be aware of how they are engaging with their children, and look for ways of increasing the number of words their child hears.

Early research into Home-Talk has shown that children are hearing more words and families are making positive changes in their home environment, making those early years count.

Home-Start UK is currently funded by Nesta to work with local Home-Starts in West Dorset, Blackpool Fylde and Wyre, Central Lancashire, and Mid & West Suffolk. We are also working with Home-Start Oldham, Stockport and Tameside (HOST) and Newcastle University on providing more UK evidence for the programme.

Download the report

For more information please contact Home-Start UK Early Years Case Manager, Emma Kirk, on 07717 836688 or [email protected]

Hart, Betty; Risley, Todd R (2003), The Early Catastrophe. The 30 Million Word Gap.