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Placing communication
at the heart of Early Years.

Early Talk Accreditation

Why Early Talk for 0–5 years?

Early Talk is a development tool devised to enhance the skills of early years practitioners in the vital area of children's communication and language. Early Talk comprises staged training packages, mentoring and service development for staff, services and settings.

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation:

I CAN's Accreditation is available for early years settings providing support to children's development through the Early Years Foundation Stage (or equivalent). The accreditation package is available at three different levels. At each level, the service or setting completes a portfolio of evidence.

This is then followed by an accreditation visit by an I CAN Advisor or local I CAN Licensed Mentor. Successful accreditation lasts for three years with an annual review and will enable settings to use the I CAN logo and designation during this time.

The I CAN Early Talk Accreditation levels are:

Supporting Communication and Language

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation at Supportive level is an endorsement of a service or setting's ability to support the language skills of all children. It is appropriate for all early years providers who work with children from birth to five years. Accreditation recognizes good practice in promoting good practice in promoting speech, language and communication development in children who are developing skills in line with expectations for their age. Accredited settings and services also show good practice in identification and referral of children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation at Supportive level:

  • Helps staff to create communication supportive environments.
  • Develops staff skilled in speech, language and communication development in the 0-5 age range.
  • Supports achievement of EYFS Communication and Language targets in England (or the requisite Early Years curriculum that applies for countries within the UK) with some Personal Social and Emotional Developmental targets.

Enhancing Communication and Language

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation at Enhanced level recognises good practice relating to working with children between the ages of birth and five years, who have speech and language delay and mild or moderate difficulties. These settings or services work with the support of a speech and language therapist(s) although they may not necessarily have a speech and language therapist as part of their onsite staff. In addition, these services and settings are able to support the communication skills of all children.

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation at Enhanced level:

  • Builds on Supportive level and helps settings to develop services and staff skills to provide targeted support to children who have mild speech, language and communication needs.
  • Supports inclusion goals and work on narrowing the gap.

A Specialist level service for children's Communication and Language

I CAN Early Talk Accreditation at Specialist level is an endorsement of a service's or setting's ability to meet the standards set for good practice in this highly skilled area of work. These services and settings will include a speech and language therapist, a teacher and a support assistant working collaboratively to provide integrated therapy and education for the children in their care.  All core staff must have completed the Speech, Language and Communication Framework, or SLCF at enhanced level as a minimum requirement for accreditation. The Teacher and Speech and Language Therapist must be working towards/have achieved specialist level.  Printed evidence of each core staff team member's SLCF results must be provided for the accreditors with their CPD and training logs.  Accreditation visits are always carried out by an I CAN Advisor.

I CAN Accreditation at Specialist level:

  • Supports the development of specialist provision by Local Authorities and Speech and Language Therapy services.
  • Aims to meet the needs of pre-school children with severe to profound speech, language and communication needs. Specialist services will be catering for those children who have identified severe to profound speech, language and communication needs.

Next Steps

  •  If you are a setting or school interested in Early Talk Accreditation and would like to find out more please contact I CAN today on 020 7843 2515 or email

    Please provide a contact name, setting/school name, address, contact phone number and where you heard about Early Talk Accreditation.

  • If you have received Early Talk Accreditation in your school or local authority, you can use this text in your Local Offer.

Click on the bricks to find out more about the elements that make up Early Talk 0-5

Early Talk 0-5 logo

Early Talk Bricks