Link Parents to First Words

The First Words Preschool Speech and Language Program of Ottawa is a free program funded by the government of Ontario. It focuses on the prevention, early identification and treatment of speech and language problems in young children from birth to their eligibility for senior kindergarten.

As front line workers, you play a key role in encouraging the best possible language development in young children. You do this by modelling and stimulating language, providing a language rich environment for children and sharing your knowledge of early milestones with parents. You are also another pair of eyes. If you note a possible communication delay, your ability to link Ottawa families with the First Words Preschool Speech and Language Program can have an amazing impact on their lives.

Partner with parents!

“Partnerships with families and communities strengthen the ability of early childhood settings to meet the needs of young children.”ELECT Framework 2007

In order to help parents understand and stimulate their child’s speech and language development or to access First Words services, here are a few useful resources you can share with parents:

  • Create a Language Development corner on your bulletin board. Download various First Words resources to help decorate it! You can also add photos that you have taken for ELECT panels and portfolios which reflect language development to the Language Development corner on your board.
  • Suggest age appropriate activities that families can do with their children at home.
  • Give parents a copy of the milestone brochures.
  • Have parents check out the First Words website to find information on speech and language development, including milestones and strategies.
  • Ask them to call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-PARENTS. There is a multilingual service to help families who speak languages other than English and French.

Check out tips on how to discuss concerns about a child who may be experiencing communication delay with parents.

Red Flags” can help you identify children experiencing communication delay.