Back Children under the age of one now have their own educational website

Children under the age of one now have their own educational website

“Before their first words”, a tool that enhances babies’ communication skills developed by Pilar Prieto, member of the Prosodic Studies Group and Laura Bosch, member of the Laboratory of Speech Perception, Attention, and Language Acquisition of the University of Barcelona, ​​in the framework of the RecerCaixa programme.



The website “Before their first words” is available in three languages ​​(Catalan,  Spanish and English) and it explains in plain terms which are the communicative traits that children display at the pre-language stage and how they can be stimulated in order to encourage the development of language and subsequent social interaction via an extensive gallery of videos, tips and educational materials that has involved the participation of a group of international experts in didactics.


The project has been carried out by teams led by Pilar Prieto, coordinator of the Prosodic Studies Group and ICREA researcher with the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF, and Laura Bosch, coordinator of the Laboratory of Speech Perception, Attention, and Language Acquisition (APAL) of the Basic Psychology Department at the University of Barcelona, ​​with the participation of the University of Sheffield (UK) within the RecerCaixa research of excellence programme, promoted by Obra Social “la Caixa” in collaboration with the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP).

The pre-language stage is crucial for the development of the baby

It is known that during the pre-language stage, children are able to recognize the prosodic patterns of language (stress, rhythm and intonation), differentiate sounds and understand the meaning of some words, and that they develop communication and interaction strategies with adults who act as precursors of language.

The project brings together the scientific information resulting from recent research conducted by these researchers that demonstrates that the different communication strategies of babies between 0 and 12 months of age, such as integration between vocalizations and pointing gestures, are relevant to their future linguistic and social development.

The website allows parents and educators to monitor the development of the baby

Therefore, the aim of the project was twofold: firstly, to make use of ICT to provide parents and educators with the latest knowledge about which are the precursors of language and raise their awareness of the importance of boosting them, and secondly, to study these precursors from a multidisciplinary integrating perspective and assess the impact of adults’ responses in their development.


To enhance these skills, the website is structured into several sections that show, progressively, month after month, how communication and early language learning develops in children from 0 to 12 months, and which are the precursors of language and when they appear: the perception of the rhythm and intonation of a language, the first sounds uttered, the start of babbling, gaze tracking, pointing gesture, etc.

In each case, practical information and examples of interaction are provided to foster their natural development by means of audiovisual materials that show several children and their parents in the homes of families who have contributed voluntarily to this initiative.

One of the benefits that may arise from the project is the future creation of protocols for the early recognition and detection of risk profiles on which to carry out preventive actions that could contribute significantly to reducing the presence of communication and language difficulties at later stages of development.

Reference works:

Esteve-Gibert, N.; Prieto, P.; Pons, F. (2015). “Nine-month-old infants are sensitive to the temporal alignment of prosodic and gesture prominences”. Infant Behavior and Development, 38, p. 126-129.

Igualada, A.; Bosch, L.; Prieto, P. (2015). “Language development at 18 months is related to multimodal communicative strategies at 12 months”. Infant Behavior and Development, 39, p. 42-52.


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