A recent survey about baby signing, in which over 200 parents participated, revealed that many parents questioned themselves about their ability to learn baby sign.
Maybe it is the word ‘language’ that has us worried that it would be hard, like learning French or Japanese. Maybe it is the lack of sleep a new baby brings, which makes us wonder if we can take it all in?
So, if you, like many others have asked yourself this question, don’t worry, because after teaching hundreds of parents and babies, I can confidently say:
YOU CAN DO IT! and here’s why:
Keeping it simple!
Baby signing is easy, in fact it is so instinctive that most of us already use signs and gestures with our babies without realising. For instance, we all wave hello and goodbye to babies happily and comfortably all the time without thinking much about it. We all know this helps them start to understand what hello and goodbye means and that when they wave back to us, they are well on their way to saying “hello” or “bye bye!” too.
Sing and Sign simply encourages you to use a few more gestures for other important words in your baby’s world. It isn’t necessary to learn a whole dictionary of signs! Just enjoy a few of our songs with your baby and you’ll find you can cherry pick the signs which suit you and your family.
Music and song
Putting our signs to song and music is key to how we teach and how you learn.
Simple songs put to familiar tunes as well as some specifically written or adapted Sing and Sign songs are fabulous to use and sing at home with your baby, you name it we have a song about it, going out, changing nappy, bath time, bed time, using the potty, tidying up, and more, and what makes Sing and Sign special is that every sign used in song relates to those important first words of a baby’s world!
Not only this singing, makes us feel good! It can lift our mood, it makes things fun, it’s engaging, and we learn more easily through it.
Don’t worry if you think you can’t sing, your baby loves YOU and your voice, and at Sing and Sign we love ALL voices and encourage you to join in.
Is key to your learning and your baby’s too. That doesn’t mean we sing and sign the same songs each week, but we do make sure that we build our signs and songs up gradually, making sure that we repeat core songs and signs often, both within each class and over the course of the term so that you not only learn the signs and songs, but also feel confident then in using them at home and when out and about with your baby.
We also encourage repetition of terms, as each time you attend a term, you will pick up more signs from the time before and be able to adjust/adapt your sign use even more to your home and family and keep it in line with your baby’s development.
Repetition is key for your baby helping to build strong neural pathways that are vital to early brain development and all subsequent learning.
Using signs for routine times of the day
Each week in class we have a different topic, which relates to daily routines and key moments in your day and your baby’s world too. Each topic will cover specific signs of the week, 2, 3, 4 or sometimes more signs, that you can start to introduce and build up your signing vocabulary. The signs of the week are there to prompt you, to guide you and to give you some structure to your learning and the topics introduced are kept in line with your baby’s development.
Covering the basic signs for routines first, means you can introduce these signs at key times in the day, at mealtime, nappy change time, bath time, bedtime, times where you’d normally be interacting with your baby. And because we repeat these routines regularly, it gives you the chance to use the signs, so you become more familiar, comfortable and confident in using them, and then your baby will get to recognise them too.
At Sing and Sign we keep our class sizes small, limiting them to no more than 12 babies per class. This allows for a safe, secure environment, but encourages maximum interaction and limits distraction, not only for your baby, but for you too, to give you time to learn.
Your baby/toddler is not required to sit still during the class, in fact the opposite, we encourage babies/toddlers to interact in the class, to engage with the class teacher and to socialise with the other babies and toddlers, whilst you join in and sing and sign.
Where ever your baby may be in the room they can still hear, watch and engage in the class, and if you are joining in, they will still see the signs, hear the words, and like you will still learn from the class.
The classes are baby lead, so you are free to give a milk feed, cuddle your baby, change a nappy, stand up/move around with your baby. Plus, there is plenty of repetition in each class and over the course of the term so no need to worry that you will miss out on any of the songs or signs.
At Sing and Sign we run our classes in terms of 10/11 or 12 weeks, starting in January, April and September.
Having longer term lengths gives you time to learn the signs, make new friends and builds familiarity.
Meeting weekly with the same parents also learning to Sing and Sign, allows for friendships to develop. You can share your experiences and support each other, and having that supportive network around you, can be a great confidence boost.
When you are not in class, you are not alone! We have a host of outside of class support,
- Weekly emails are sent at the end of each week with a summary of what was covered in your class, plus handouts accompany the terms and sent via email too.
- My Facebook group, a closed group for current and past known to me Sing and Signers, is a great place where you can ask questions, share your stories and photos with other Sing and Sign parents.
- We have a range of award-winning Sing and Sign products from books, CDs, and DVDs which are a great accompaniment (though not essential or compulsory) to your class learning and are always available to purchase in class.
- Online support – a Jessie Cat Club membership a yearly subscription, which gives access to supportive video content, an online signing dictionary, interactive Jessie Cat games and more.
- I am here always at the end of a phone call, email, or Facebook message to answer any of your questions and provide support too.
Baby signing is wonderfully rewarding and fantastic fun, YOU CAN DO IT!
If you’d like more information about Sing and Sign classes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07906 055591