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York nursery assistants commended for role in pre-school language research

Posted on 10 June 2011

The University of York is hosting a special celebration to thank nursery assistants for their enthusiastic support of research designed to improve the language skills of pre-school children.

Nursery assistants from 13 York nursery schools took part in a 15-week intervention programme between February and June. Targeted at children who show weaknesses in their oral language skills in comparison to their peers, it was organised by researchers from the University’s Centre for Reading and Language in the Department of Psychology.

In recognition of their valuable work, the nursery assistants will be presented with certificates of achievement at a special event on Monday, 13 June, held at the University’s Department of Psychology.   The presentations will be made by Tricia Ellison, Senior Education Advisor from City of York Council.

Heads of nursery schools volunteered to take part in the Nursery Language for Reading Project and each selected an assistant to be trained by a team from the University’s Department of Psychology to deliver the intervention. The team is researching the benefits of an oral language intervention programme for children who show areas of difficulties in their spoken language skills at nursery-age. The programme is targeting three key areas: vocabulary knowledge, narrative and listening skills, and children took part in three group sessions each week.

Professor Charles Hulme, from the University’s Department of Psychology, who led this work, said: "Language skills are vital for educational success. Nursery assistants have really embraced the importance of our language intervention programme and have gone through special training to deliver it with great success.  The special celebration will be a chance to commend them for their excellent work and for their enthusiasm and commitment to improving the educational lives of children. Feedback from nursery assistants indicates it has been an enjoyable experience for all concerned.”

Notes to editors:

  • Nursery assistants from the following nursery classes took part in the intervention programme: Carr Infant, Clifton Green Primary, Knavesmire Primary, New Earswick Primary, Our Lady’s RC Primary, Clifton with Rawcliffe Infant, St George’s RC Primary, St. Lawrence’s CE Primary, St Paul’s Nursery, Tang Hall Primary, Yearsley Grove Primary, Derwent Schools Federation and Fulford Pre-school. 
  • For more information on Nursery Language for Reading Project visit www.york.ac.uk/psychology/research/groups/crl/research/nuffield-language/
  • For further information on the University’s Department of Psychology visit www.york.ac.uk/psychology.

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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