is a complete package designed to enhance and enrich the speech, language and communication skills of 3-4 year old children.
Following a half day training session, you will be able to implement BLAST in your setting.
BLAST is a complete resource, linked to the early years Foundation Stage curriculum and supportive of Letters and Sounds.
Who is it for?
BLAST is aimed at nursery aged children. The aim is to build up their pre-linguistic skills such as attention, listening, speech sound awareness and story awareness in order for them to more rapidly develop speech and language skills based on these pre-linguistic abilities. We feel that it will benefit all children, not only those with a speech and language delay and it has been adapted and used with children with a range of special needs such as autistic spectrum disorders, attention difficulties, severe learning difficulties and behavioural problems. It has also proved to be particularly effective to boost the English skills of children with English as an additional language and can be translated to support first language development. Over half a million children have already benefited from BLAST.
Where does it take place?
BLAST is being used in over 1500 settings, delivered mainly in nurseries but also in playgroups, creches, parent and toddler groups or childminder provision. Training is provided but the delivery is by the childcare setting staff. Currently BLAST is part of the nursery experience of all children in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton and is rapidly growing in South Tyneside, Rochdale, Coventry, London and Plymouth.
How is it delivered?
BLAST takes place daily for 6 weeks in the setting with the same group of 6 – 8 children. Parents are invited to meet with the staff delivering the programme to find out how their children are progressing and to ask any questions. Parents are encouraged to sing the BLAST songs with their child and to read the stories with them. Information sheets and resources are available for the child, the parent and the teacher. The child resources are copies of the stories and the songs for the child to colour in, read and sing with parents. Parent information is a simple summary leaflet of what BLAST is and some suggestions of ways that they can support their child. Teacher packs contain the manual which gives the rationale behind BLAST and a day by day prescriptive programme of how to deliver BLAST.
Why is it useful?
Feedback from nursery staff is that the children attend better, have more confidence in expressing themselves and are more able to listen to a story and follow it. National research and experience in working with young children and those with speech and language difficulties shows that these children respond well to structure within a small group. Structure gives the child confidence to focus on the activity without having to worry about ‘what will happen next’. The BLAST format is the same every day, the songs are the same for 6 weeks, the stories and listening activities are the same for a week and the language activity is fundamentally the same for a week with developments each day. In this way, children get the opportunity for repetition and soon build up confidence to join in. The focus on pre-linguistic skills also gives children the chance to develop the ‘building blocks’ of language which will enable them to access language and the curriculum more easily. BLAST is also fully inclusive enabling children with special educational needs or with English as an additional language to take an equal and full part in the group.