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The kick off

The early years – especially the first 1000 days – are critical in a child's development, "says Talking Matters director Alison Sutton. "Eighty per cent of the brain develops in these first three years … and a child's experiences lay down the architecture for social, emotional and physical development."

International research shows some children have heard 30 million more words at four years, which is twice what others hear at the same age. New Zealand research shows some children start school knowing 6000 words, whilst others know only 3000. Watch Alison describing the Talking Matters campaign.

" All the research shows those children who start ahead – stay ahead.."

Talking Matters is looking at ways to wrap rich language environments around babies and young children – promoting the importance of communication to families and community groups.