Baby Signing Courses
Baby signing classes
Our courses last for 10-weeks allowing us gradually to build up your signing vocabulary. Each week we start by introducing a group of key words (starting with important baby signs like ‘milk’ ‘more’ ‘all gone’ ‘food’ ‘drink’ for example). As the course progresses, there are plenty of chances for revision and repetition of the signs you have learnt. We show you how to focus on signing just the key words when speaking (i.e. the information-carrying words of each sentence). Our classes are carefully designed to meet the needs of parents hoping to introduce this early vocabulary.
In our classes we involve the grown-ups and the babies in some fun activities such as a game and/or reading a story as a way of teaching new signs and practising ones we already know. This is often a really useful activity as it gives you some creative ideas on how to use the signs in all sorts of ways throughout the day.
Then we move onto the singing! All the remaining vocabulary within the course is introduced through songs – anything from farm animals and jungle animals to food and transport signs. Instinctively, many parents will want to sing with their baby and adding some signs into the songs makes them much more engaging to watch. Learning the signs alongside the rhymes is also a great way of helping you remember the signs when you are at home. It is important to know that when you come along to a ‘Singing Hands’ class, we are teaching the grown-ups the signs whilst the babies enjoy the music, the toys and the instruments. As some of the babies get older, many of them will begin to join in the actions too. Essentially though, you will be their teacher at home and you can use as many or as few of the signs as you choose.
Lots of songs we sing are traditional nursery rhymes that you may already know (or are desperately trying to remember from when you were a child!) along with some new and original ones too. All the babies love our Poppy dolly (let’s “copy Poppy”) who signs our warm-up action songs. We also have a big bag of props to help introduce and reinforce the vocabulary. Towards the end of the class we get out our box of instruments so the babies can enjoy making lots of noise!
You will be given a handout of the key words to help you practice at home and again, these are just a guideline – you can use as many or as few of these as you like.
Coming to a ‘Singing Hands’ class is also a social event for children and their carers – so many parents comment on the benefits of meeting the same people each week in terms of building those all-important friendship groups. They have also told us how their babies enjoy seeing the familiar faces of other parents and babies and learning the routines of our sessions. Most importantly, they comment on how it is a fun, learning experience for them all – so we hope you will come along and join us soon.
If you live too far away from us but would be interested in signing with your baby, please contact the Makaton Charity and ask for information about their new ‘Makaton Signing with Babies’ programme. This will be run across the country by other Makaton Regional Tutors (from 2006).