Precious Award for Sauchie Nursery

Sauchie Nursery has become the first nursery in Forth Valley to receive a prestigious Diamond Award for improving the language skills of children attending the nursery through a project known as LIFT (Language is Fun Together).

Delivered with the help of NHS Forth Valley Speech and Language Therapists, the programme has seen a huge improvement in the way children at Sauchie speak and communicate, with 73% of youngsters taking part in LIFT language groups now having the language skills expected of their age group. This compares with a figure in January 2018 which showed that on average 34% of three year olds in LIFT nurseries achieved this.

Sauchie is one of ten Clackmannanshire nurseries involved in LIFT which is helping to build children’s language and communication skills through everyday play and talk and group work. The project shows that small changes in the way adults communicate with children can make a huge difference to their language development.

NHS Forth Valley Speech and Language Therapist, Louise Illingworth, explained: “Good communication skills are essential for children’s learning, friendships and wellbeing. Spoken language is the main way children learn so it is really concerning that increasing numbers of children are coming to school without good spoken language skills to help them learn and develop.

“If a child has difficulties with listening and talking, this can have a really big impact on their development in lots of areas. If a child does not get the right support when they are young, these difficulties can affect their behaviour, mental health, employability and success in the future.”

The Diamond Award recognises the efforts of nursery staff and the way they interact with young children. When the group were recently observed an amazing 81% of their interactions were of the high quality needed for language building and the development of early literacy skills.