Explore New Territories

By Alison Sutton, Talking Matters director - I joined 3,400 practitioners, researchers and policy makers from 13 countries at the Zero to Three Conference in Denver in early October to get someRead more

Talking to babies is everybody's business

There's been a bit of media attention about early language over the last couple of weeks, which is good to see. The evidence is clear – talking is vital for infants wellbeing. The quality and qualiRead more

The real adventure begins now

I promised a second blog to share what I learnt in San Francisco and outline how we might use these insights. In my previous post I talked about 'getting clear' in what we want to achieve. ThatRead more

Getting clear in fog city

I have just returned from a 10 day trip to San Francisco, presenting at the prestigious Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education. Educators from around the world were impressedRead more

The Intersection of culture and talk

The March Talking Matters network meeting was particularly powerful because it focused on the intersection of culture and talk. Rae Si'ilata spoke about Wantok Talanoa. We can develop fluency byRead more

Weaving oral language into family literacy

In February 2017, we began working alongside 10 tertiary tutors who teach more than 120 adults in a family literacy programme Whānau Ara Mua, a Certificate in Intergenerational Learning - throughRead more

Measuring talk at home

Very small children develop their early language at home. In order to find out more about talking to children at home, project manager Emma Quigan has been working with a small group of parents andRead more

Akaaka Kōrero

Talking Matters' first community project started in February, with 13 community organisations that connect with families in Māngere-Ōtāhuhu. The collaborative has called itself Akaaka Kōrero.Read more

Why I changed focus from adult education to toddlers’ talk

Alison Sutton is the Director of Talking Matters. Alison describes the journey that led her to start a campaign aimed at encouraging talking more and talking different with small children. ForRead more

Tāmaki Toddlers Day out

Back in early December, we took Talking Matters to the Tāmaki Toddlers' Day Out. We spoke informally with parents about the importance of talk, and how it builds babies' brains. We shared howRead more

Talk over summer

The top take away ideas from the November network meeting were about finding ways to promote talking and reading over summer. David Tucker from Pt. Chevalier Library shared the idea of an empty boRead more

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 threeRead more


Talking Matters Network Consultation

The February 2019 Talking Matters network looked at the Early Learning Strategic Plan, from the point of view of early language to contribute to the consultation. Read more

Talking Matters Highlights from 2018

It’s been a great year and we are delighted with how many communities and organisations are interested in collaborating with Talking Matters. Read more 


More responsive talk in families makes life easier

Seventeen families started Talking Matters to Tamaki in April, our third and largest group so far. Six coaches from the Glen Innes Family Centre coaches are supporting families to interact and talk more.

More families have joined in because of positive feedback from the families that took part in 2018. 63% of families increased the talk at home. More than 63% of children were involved in more back and forth talk.  Read more

E Minaka Ana- the Talking Matters Maori strategy

Over recent months, we have started working with iwi and Maori organisations on early language. This aligns strongly to the E Minaka Ana strategic goal of ensuring Talking Matters is being responsive to iwi as a priority. Through talking with trust board members, local practitioners, whanau and tamariki we are learning more about iwi tribal history, along with their future hopes and aspirations for their people.

We are excited by the potential to co-design with iwi a LENA program that works for whanau raising their children in both bi-lingual and full immersion te reo Maori language environments.

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Whānau champions spread the word

Over the last month, two Talking Matters parent champions from Southern Cross have been sharing key messages with parents at the Mangere East Library in a collaborative project with The Southern Initiative.  

Since families get most of their information about parenting from family or community members they trust, we are keen to find out what it takes to grow a network of parent champions.

We also recognise the importance of tailoring our messages to work within these unique and diverse cultural communities. Mangere East is a predominantly Pacific community. Through this collaboration, The Southern Initiative and Talking Matters, have been able to introduce parent champions who are able to impart key messages in; Tongan, Samoan, Cook Island and Niuean. 

Showcasing Talking Matters to language experts

In early May, Talking Matters had the privilege of working alongside a group of prestigious local and international early language researchers.

Coaches from Glen Innes Family Centre showcased how Talking Matters to Tamaki whānau coaching is making an impact on local families. The researchers also visited Potiki ECE centre where teachers are intentionally focusing on talk and interaction, using LENA recordings as a tool for critical reflection.

This network of researchers has been brought together by the Marie Clay Research Centre from the University of Auckland.

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Why Talking Matters in the First 1000 Days

16 October, 2018 - Talking Matters director Alison Sutton presented at the NEXT Foundation annual breakfast in Wellington.

Read more & watch our videos on the Impact of Talking Matters

Premiere for Talanoa Ato video

August 2018 - Talking Matters had the pleasure of attending the premiere of Le Malelega a le To'elau's video about the power of Talanoa. The video looks at how the Samoan ECE uses the Talanoa Ato or Kete (Basket) to spark conversations between children and their aiga at home.

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Reading in a Winter Wonderland

August - Making fabric books to read to younger siblings proves a big hit for our Talking Matters stall at the Glen Innes Winter Wonderland.  See all the photos

Power of Talk in Māngere

June - A working group is being set up in Mangere to look at ways to promote more talk with babies and young children following our Talking Matters community fono at Southern Cross Campus on 28th June. Read more

Bill Kermode, NEXT ceo | Ginnie Denny, COMET board chair | Susan Warren, COMET ceo |  Alison Sutton, Talking Matters director

Bill Kermode, NEXT ceo | Ginnie Denny, COMET board chair | Susan Warren, COMET ceo | Alison Sutton, Talking Matters director

NEXT Foundation boosts investment in Talking Matters campaign

May - NEXT Foundation has announced it is extending its funding for Talking Matters, our campaign promoting the importance of rich language with babies. Read more


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