Happy Talk Conference
Saturday 1st February 2014
The Happy Talk Conference was held last month in the Gresham Metropole Hotel, Cork. The conference was a huge success with a large number of people attending from the Early Years community. Ted Owens, CEO of Cork ETB, was chair for the day. Kathleen Lynch, TD, Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health.provided a captivating opening address stating that language development was everybody’s business.
Sheila Dillon, Happy Talk Coordinator gave an insight into the Happy Talk project. Anne Horgan, HSE Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Manager, presented on the importance of language development, while Dr. John Sharry presented the Keynote Address, “Engaging parents in childcare settings – a strengths-based collaborative approach”. Dr. Sharry spoke about the importance of involving and engaging parents in their children’s development and education. He also looked to the audience to share their ideas and discuss what worked for them.
In the afternoon, there were workshops to look further into supporting children’s language and development. Dr. Sharry facilitated a workshop on “Encouraging Children’s Self-Esteem & Learning Using the Parents Plus Programmes.”
Aoife Doyle, SLT, with Happy Talk, facilitated the Let’s Play – Play and Language Development workshop. Anne Walsh and Rose Crowley of Glenfields Preschool co-facilitated the workshop.
Participants had great fun while engaging in all different types of play and learning about the link between language and play.
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Siobhan Dowling, SLT with Happy Talk, facilitated the Chatterbox- Speech and Language Development workshop. Siobhan was accompanied by Nicola Wallace and Martha Kavanagh of Our House preschool as co-facilitators. Participants learned about typical speech and language development and how not all speech errors mean a child is delayed.
Kate Hogan, SLT with Happy Talk, facilitated the Meet Nibbles & Twitch – Happy Talk
Strategies workshop. Tina McCarthy and Elga Holbrook from Baile Beag creche co-facilitated this workshop. Participants learned about modelling, expanding and balancing questions and comments. They also saw how puppets like Nibbles and Twitch, the Happy Talk rabbit puppets can be used with children to
support language development.
We wish to thank everyone who participated in the conference. Special thanks to the
preschool and crèche staff who helped us plan and carry out the workshops.