Tots on Tour is a training organisation that works in partnership with families and professionals. Sara and Fiona wrote the “Growing Talk Together” training programme for practitioners as a means of sharing ideas designed to nurture early language and communication skills.

Tots on Tour are a regular feature at the Early Years Conferences at University Centre Doncaster. This article was inspired by the workshop delivered by Tots on Tour at the Early Years Communication and Language Conference  held at University Centre Doncaster, 29th November 2014.

Both Sara and Fiona were very animated in their delivery of the programme, demonstrating excellent ideas that encourage children’s engagement to develop their language and communications skills. The ‘bespoke’ training focused around what Sara and Fiona called the 3 Es, Engage children and families, Enhance all areas of learning, with a specific focus on the Prime areas and Enable all children to become confident communicators.  This workshop demonstrated the resources and how practitioners can engage, enhance and enable children to ‘grow their talk’ together.

Various activities were role-modelled including the use of their talking partner a Puppet called “Mikey”. Sara and Fiona demonstrated how singing and the repetition of words within a song had huge benefits for children’s communication and language.

They introduced Magical Talking Tins with various exciting and interesting resources selected to engage a child’s imagination.

Chatter baskets also included a variety of exciting and engaging resources that can be changed for a particular topic or season. Christmas was the theme used in the workshop, and Sara and Fiona demonstrated how the resources enhanced children’s vocabulary that was associated with Christmas, whilst at the same time providing a multi-sensory experience and visual image to aid understanding and memory of new words.

This interesting and engaging workshop inspired practitioners to think about how they themselves can become engaging, by wearing a necklace, bracelet or by simply wearing a pair of Christmas socks. Practitioner’s thoughts and responses were valued. Activities were all linked to then 5 main aims the Growing Talk Programme: Having fun together, non-verbal communication, playing with sounds, understanding the words and chatter which were linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage.  This workshop definitely provide practitioners with the confidence to collaborate with other staff members within their own setting to implement the wonderful ideas provided by Sara and Fiona.

Further information about Tots on Tour can be found by visiting