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Learn while you play: new communication boards in Ceredigion playgrounds

Group of adults standing around new communication board

Children in Ceredigion can now benefit from new bilingual communication boards, designed to create a friendly atmosphere in play areas to help children develop their communication skills.

The communications boards, being the first project of its kind in Wales, contain a selection of the most commonly identified words used within play environments, which are paired with associated symbols. Fifteen weatherproof boards have been placed at child friendly height around the parks in the county.

Speech and language therapists from Hywel Dda UHB, in partnership with Ceredigion County Council, secured funding from Welsh Government’s Child Development Fund to create the boards.

Mererid Davies, Speech and Language Therapist at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The communication boards provide children with a visual means of expressing themselves, reducing the feeling of isolation and frustration. The boards will also help children learn language as adults are able to model words using visual reinforcement. As it also bilingual it is a good opportunity to help non-Welsh speaking families develop basic Welsh language skills.”

Maria Battle, Chair said: “Every child reach has the right to play and to reach their full potential. These communication boards will encourage children to enjoy play even more and nurture their development.

“It is a great initiative by the team designing and installing the communication boards in several of the county’s playgrounds. This is an inclusive way to help all children express their needs, feel safe, and support them to make and express their own decisions. The project is a demonstration of our commitment to the Well-being of Future Generations Act in Wales, which seeks to ensure public bodies think about the long term impact of their decisions and work better with communities to address inequalities, making lasting, positive change to current and future generations.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention. She said: “Play is one of the ways that children learn about themselves, the people around them, their environment and the community in which they live. Play can support children’s physical, emotional and spiritual growth, intellectual and educational development and social and behavioural skills. Children in Ceredigion will benefit from these new bilingual communication boards, designed to create a friendly and inclusive atmosphere in play areas which will help develop their communication skills, which is particularly important as they emerge from such a difficult and challenging period in their young lives.”