Hello! Welcome to the online home of Attention and Listening in the Early Years
(also known as 'Listen with Lucy')

“Listening and Attention are a major part of the EYFSP as children cannot achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ at the end of the key stage without it. Today has given me a bank of ideas to work with children who need to improve their skills”

 Early Years Coordinator, Shropshire 2014 

"Great workshop, very informative and very useful. I'm looking forward to running my own session" Teaching Assistant, Shropshire 2016.


Since the Revised EYFS came out in September 2012, listening and attention have been highlighted as building blocks of Communication and Language, one of the 3 Prime areas. 


Attention and Listening in the Early Years (or 'Listen with Lucy' as the programme is called locally) is a circle-time group aimed at developing the attention, concentration and listening skills of preschool children, with a view to facilitating their ability to learn, whether this is the learning of language or more general learning. The group was first developed 9 years ago by Sharon Garforth, an experienced Speech and Language Therapist living and working in Shropshire. Sharon, and other Speech and Language Therapists and Early Years staff who have been trained by her, have now trained over 40 Early Years settings across Shropshire to run the group themselves.

In a cross-county (Shropshire) evaluation of the programme between 2009 and 2011 inclusive, overall the attention skills of the children improved substantially more (53%) in the intervention period than in the control group (5%).
Both Every Child a Talker (2010) consultants in Shropshire included Attention and Listening in the Early Years in their work with Early Years settings.
In June 2009, a book about the programme was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (www.jkp.com). 
Attention and Listening in the Early Years

Workshop Evaluation
The evaluation of the training has been very positive, with comments from Early Years practitioners and Speech and Language Therapists including:
"the children will (following inclusion in the group) sit longer for tasks, activities and story time, allowing them to get more out of the sessions"
"very useful as already packaged with sessions planned"
"there was a significant improvement in (the children's) concentration and listening skills"
"a good programme to use with children who have delayed communication skills"
"I can see it being used within the traditional language group model... a fantastic resource for Speech and Language Therapy Assistants" (Speech and Language Therapist)
"the group fits well alongside the Dept. for Education initiatives, Letters and Sounds and Communicating Quality"
"We would strongly recommend all settings to consider ‘Listen with Lucy’ as it empowers practitioners to work more effectively with groups of children with proven results."  Mount Lane Nursery, Market Drayton
Reviews of the book and programme, included:

'The format is extremely accessible for playgroup and preschool leaders and speech and language therapists ... very useful for the preschool staff it targets'  Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

'Cost effective resource for busy staff ... will be of particular benefit to students, newly qualified (speech and language) therapists and assistants, or for therapists to recommend to other early years practitioners'  Speech and Language Therapy in Practice.
'I would recommend this for Early Years Practitioners, especially those looking for enjoyable and alternative ideas for circle time. There are lots of useful activities using songs, rhymes, physical activity and musical instruments. I was inspired to try out some of the activities and found them very successful ' National Association of Professionals concerned with Language Impairment in Children
In 2012 Judith Twani, Early Education Improvement Officer, said on LinkedIn: 'Our ICAN Nursery use this and have rolled it out across a number of local schools, preschools and day nurseries. It is very successful.'
We are now offering training in Attention and Listening in the Early Years nationally, to all professionals working with children in their Early Years - look out for courses advertised on this site. 
We can also offer bespoke training in your own local area, for your whole Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Team, Early Years Advisory Team or Early Years frontline staff, depending on your requirements. 
Further information
If you would like to know more, then please click on 'Services' on this site, or email Sharon Garforth on sgarforth@live.co.uk or ring her on 07985 084 682.
There is also some information on Attention and Listening in the Early Years ('Listen with Lucy') on the National Literacy Trust website http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk_to_your_baby/resources/external_resources/2276_listening_to_children
Speech and Language Therapy in Practice magazine featured an article on Attention and Listening in the Early Years in their Spring 2010 edition.
The Nursery World magazine featured 'Attention and Listening in the Early Years' in its July 1st 2010 edition http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/search/articles/phrase/attention%20and%20listening%20Sharon%20Garforth/  and again on 25th June 2012 in its CPD section.
Sharon Garforth B.Med.Sce.(Speech)
Member of the Health Professions Council.