John Whittingdale joined the mothers and children at Talking Tots at West Maldon Community Centre. A national initiative, Talking Tots is run in Essex by Amanda Smith and helps children to communicate with confidence. It also supports the Government's Every Child a Talker initiative, which aims to improve language and communication skills in under 5s. Amanda runs 13 classes across six venues, including Maldon, South Woodham Ferrers, Hatfield Peverel and Chelmsford.
 
John said: "I very much enjoyed taking part in the class with the mums and children. While the children were clearly enjoying it, they were also learning vital communication skills which will be of real benefit when they start school."