Little Link

Early Years Research Study

Welcome to Little Link, our exciting new early years package. Building on over 20 years of experience delivering assessments and interventions to schools throughout the UK, we are now bringing that expertise to early years.

Little Link will enable early years practitioners to:

  • Identify developmental language problems with a robust and objective screening tool, so that concerns are spotted as early as possible and no child’s needs are missed.
  • Upskill their whole workforce so that they can make a real difference to children’s outcomes every day.
  • Provide a universal language enrichment programme so that every child can benefit.

What is Little Link?

Little Link is a universal language screening tool for children aged 3-5 and a 12-week language enrichment programme to provide a boost for every child, based on an original and beautifully illustrated set of books.

Early identification is crucial for ensuring the best outcomes for children. The Little Link language screening tool is easy to administer, enabling any member of staff to identify potential difficulties for all children in the setting. It is an engaging, story-based assessment that takes only 10 minutes to complete. This ensures that all children who need a little more support with their language development are identified, including those who may need support from local specialist services.

Our universal intervention promotes language development for all children in your setting. The programme is based on six, beautifully illustrated stories featuring Ben and his best friend Teddy. Each book comes complete with a series of planned play-based activities to practise and consolidate a range of important language skills. Sessions are designed to take place throughout the whole setting, rather than a small group format, which means they don’t require any additional staff or space, and every child benefits.

The project

The project is taking place over the next academic year from September 2024 to July 2025. Each setting will need to complete our online assessment with a minimum of 15 children, at one time point in the year. The assessment takes about 10 minutes and is delivered online through the website. Whilst the assessment will ultimately be suitable for all, at this stage in the process we need children who have grown up speaking only English so not bilingual or EAL students.

We will also be inviting a small number of settings to join our intervention pilot study. Settings that take part in this pilot will be randomly allocated to either an intervention group, who will receive training and deliver the 12-week universal Little Link programme, or to a control group, who will continue with a business as usual model.

Benefits for settings taking part

All settings that take part in the project will receive the following incentives as a thank you:

  • A summary report for the group of children assessed.
  • A free webinar training session for all early years practitioners delivered by our Speech and Language Therapy team.

In addition all settings taking part in our intervention study will also receive:

  • A free 1 year subscription to Little Link following the study.
  • A complete set of Little Link printed books and resources.
  • Access to our 3-Part Training Toolkit to boost staff knowledge and confidence.

Next Steps

If your nursery or setting would like to help with this research, complete the form to express your interest – there’s no commitment at this point. We are expecting interest to be high, and places are limited, so please register to secure your place.