Creative, actionable ideas to shape young brains.

Building a world that puts the youngest in society first. 

A focus on the use of innovative solar powered technology to promote speech, language and literacy for all.

A young child’s relationships and interactions with the important adults in her life have a great impact on early brain development and ongoing learning. For most children, family members are the primary caregivers who provide the important foundation for speech, language and literacy.
At Shaping Brains we seek to enhance these interactions, and provide solutions when positive relationships, for whatever reason, are limited.    

Overcoming barriers that prevent girls and boys from equally benefiting from countries’ investments in education.


Many children are at risk for reading difficulties on the first day of school (Loeb & Bassok, 2007), due in large part to individual differences in knowledge of spoken language and the world it is used to communicate about (Muter, Hulme, Snowling, & Stevenson, 2004; Hoff, 2013). Increased translational research about what can be done in early learning contexts prior to the start of school will help fill in our knowledge of what we can do, when, and for which learners. (Read article)

Some children may need our help learning to speak, communicate and learn to read and spell than others. Early Intervention is key.

‘For too long, we’ve assumed that there is a single template for human nature, which is why we diagnose most deviations as disorders. But the reality is that there are many different kinds of minds. And that is a very good thing.’ Jonah Lehrer

'The idea of neurodiversity has now been embraced by many other groups, who are using the term as a means of empowerment and to promote the positive qualities possessed by those with a neurological difference. It encourages people to view neurological differences such as autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia as natural and normal variations of the human genome. Further, it encourages them to reject the culturally entrenched negativity which has typically surrounded those that live, learn and view the world differently.'

Shaping Brains are developing engaging and INCLUSIVE solutions to teach language, communication and literacy skills.  

Non-verbal children.
Many conditions can hinder a child’s speech, including autism, cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, learning difficulties and selective mutism.

Communication is more than the production of speech, however. Non-verbal children can communicate in many ways, including with the use of assisted technology. 
We use Speech Sound Pictographs as child friendly alternatives to phonetic symbols and to include all children in the learning journey. As each represents an English speech sound children can use the same skills they will use to read and spell, but with 'sound symbols' rather than letters of the alphabet - in a similar way that Cued Articulation has a focus on phonemes. This is arguably a more effective way to teach phoneme to grapheme mapping than with the use of embedded pictographs as there is less cognitive load, and as Speech Sound Pictographs facilitate greater independence. They are also more easily understood by children who are learning to speak English as a Second Language. 

Shaping Brains are in the process of organising and conducting research projects with providers and practitioners in the early years. Contact us to take part. 

'Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence and fragility. Girls’ education is a strategic development priority for the World Bank'.
Both girls and boys are facing a learning crisis. Learning Poverty (LP) measures the share of children who are not able to read proficiently at age 10. While girls are on average 4 percentage points less learning-poor than boys, the rates remain very high for both groups. The average of Learning Poverty in in low- and middle- income countries is 55% for females, and 59% for males. The gap is narrower in low-income countries, where Learning Poverty averages about 93% for both boys and girls.

Gender equality as an educational base means that girls and boys are considered equal intellectually and emotionally; gender equality is broadly understood as a process of developing higher “gender awareness”. Gender equality work then needs to be seen as an area where theories of gender are converted into practice and translated into gender equality development tools.

Shaping Brains is a project being developed by a team of skilful individuals with a passion for bringing about sustainable change in the world, by improving the lives of our youngest children. Although technology could never be used to replace a fantastic teacher or loving and engaged parent, the reality is that far too many children have limited access to the relationships they need to learn and reach their potential, and even a bedtime story via technology or remote carer is beneficial with regards to 'shaping their brain' in far reaching ways and does not need to be via a screen.

Our early childhood, SpLD and SEN specialists work in collaboration with the tech team to create solutions that engage learners, and can be used to support parents and carers. SLCN is the most common Special Educational Need (SEN) identified by primary schools (26.5%2 ) and is a feature of many other areas of SEN, such as hearing impairment, learning difficulties and autistic spectrum difficulties. SLCN is also the most common childhood disability: 10% of all children have SLCN as a long term need. Evidence also shows that in areas of social deprivation 50% of children may enter school with delayed language. SLCN affects educational outcomes including literacy; there is a direct link between SLCN and literacy. This is in terms of difficulties with speech sounds and phonological skills as well as broader language difficulties, particularly weaknesses in vocabulary knowledge and grammatical skills, which may put children at risk of reading comprehension difficulties.