Following the realisation that around a third of their pupils were “experiencing speech and language difficulties”, Pomeroy Pre School applied for - and won - funding from the Department of Education to engage specialist help.
And after just a few weeks of classes with a speech and language therapist, they have already seen improvements said Pre School leader Geraldine McCormack.
The grant, which has been supplemented from the play group’s own coffers, has enabled them to host six 40 minute sessions for the children involved every Thursday for six weeks.
But as well as this class, which caters for 23 children from both the Pre School itself and primary one in St Mary’s Primary School, which they feed into, the funding has also helped the group to bring in a senior Speech and Language Therapist to talk to parents about what they can do to help.
The four workshops, now in their second week, cover a range of strategies parents can use at home to support their child’s speech development.
They also receive play resources such as bubbles, play dough and books aimed at developing talking, listening and attention skills through play.
“It’s going great,” Mrs McCormack told the Mail. “We have had a fantastic turnout of parents each week.
“Early intervention is the key, as speech and language difficulties can impact on a child’s learning.”
Speaking about the parents classes, she added: “The parents are leaving feeling excited at the prospect of trying out the techniques, strategies and play resources with their little ones at home.”
But as well as learning those new techniques, Mrs McCormack said they also get the chance to share their experiences with a professional, and engage with other parents in the same situation.