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The youngest ones

Birth to Three Matters is a framework of good practice in the form of a training pack for everyone involved in the care of pre-school children. All foundation stage practitioners should be aware of its content and the principles that guide it.

The framework starts from the premise - now backed up with considerable academic research - that, from birth, children are skilful communicators and effective learners. It identifies four strands of development:

* A strong child (identity, emotional security, self-assurance and social confidence);

* A skilful communicator;

* A competent learner;

* A healthy child.

The Birth to Three Matters pack contains a handbook, video and cards providing summaries of key information, developmental milestones, practical suggestions for those working with children, and a case study. For details, visit: www.surestart.gov.ukensuringqualitybirthtothreematters A CD-Rom includes a review of academic literature, providing a research-based rationale for practice.

Sure Start and the DfES have commissioned a further training pack, Communicating Matters, to look in greater detail at communication and language development in the pre-school years. This will be led by Professor Nigel Hall, who is based at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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