Today’s post is kindly provided by a reader who attends Sing and Sign baby signing classes with her two children.
Sing and Sign classes are held every Monday and Thursday at Horfield Methodist Church in term-time. There are also Sing and Sign classes held throughout greater Bristol.
Sing and Sign classes encourage good communication by teaching your baby simple and easy signs such as ‘more’, milk’, ‘tired’, ‘mummy’ or ‘change nappy’, to name but a few.
Learning such signs helps babies to recognise such important words quicker and enable them to communicate with you before they are able to talk.
There are Sing and Sign classes available for different ages: ‘Babes’ classes are for babies aged 2 – 6 months, Stage 1 classes are for babies ages 6 – 14 months and Stage 2 classes are for toddlers aged 14 months+.
Your baby or toddler can start Sing and Sign classes at any age: they don’t need to have done the Babes classes before starting Stage 1, nor the Stage 1 classes before beginning Stage 2.
I joined the Stage Two Sing and Sign Class having learned some signing at a different class with my eldest daughter Jorja, now three, when she was a baby.
I loved signing back then and had kept it up, learning as I went. Recently it had dropped off a bit as her verbal communication went from strength to strength.
But I was trying to boost the signing up a bit for her sister Thea who had recently turned one. Jorja was starting to really enjoy teaching her little sister how to sign and she wanted to learn more signs too. I was constantly getting asked how to sign this, that and the other!
So I was really excited about going to another signing class, especially since it was the next stage on and I would learn some more signs.
I hadn’t been to Sign and Sign before so there were some songs that were unfamiliar at first, but after a couple of weeks under my belt I quickly caught up.
The class was fast paced but without it feeling rushed at all. More in a cramming in lots so you got as good an experience as possible way… I can imagine if you started the stage two class with your toddler and hadn’t done any previous signing it could be tricky to keep up with but if you knew the basics then that would be enough.
It was a very different experience than when I did the class with Jorja as a baby – bringing Thea with her older sister was not quite the calm experience as I had had before with a baby that laid on the mat as I sang away!
Thea excitedly soaked up the songs, surprise bags, Jessie Cat playing peek a boo, wandered off to say hello to the other littlies and explored the room before popping back to have a feed and cuddles on our mat.
Jorja got just as much out of the session as Thea, if not more… but got far too easily distracted by running circuits round the room. Quite often I found myself singing and signing away to myself, worried that she was distracting others.
But I realised that everyone was super chilled and not at all worried. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience too. There were three of us there who were learning, laughing, creating gorgeous memories and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
My favourite bits were the alphabet (albeit it took a while to remember!) and learning more colours and animals. And the tidy up song! Not that it’s encouraged my girls to tidy up…. but it makes me feel less stroppy when I’m tidying up their mess! 😉
Our teacher Helen was very confident, knowledgeable and more than happy to look up any unusual signs that she didn’t know off the top of her head (although it has to be said that she seemed to know most of them).
She was full of energy, fantastic with all the children and so kind and helpful. It was clear she had put a lot of effort into preparing for each class.
Even though the class was for Thea and I was allowed to bring Jorja along, Helen made Jorja feel like part of the group. She certainly loved coming too, excitedly asking Helen “what are we going to learn today!?”.
It has boosted her knowledge of signing – although I sometimes felt that she can’t have taken much in when she was running off around the room, she is often telling us what the sign for something is, when I had forgotten it!
I would thoroughly recommend the stage two class. The toddlers are at a perfect age for taking in the signs themselves and getting loads out of it too. Whereas stage one feels a little more for the parents.
Thea’s signing has come on so much at home as a result. And that I’m turn makes my life far easier as I know what she needs more of the time. A brilliant class – thank you so much.
To find out more about Sing and Sign classes, please contact Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org and say where you live and she will direct you to your closest class.
The Sing and Sign – Bristol Facebook page will also give you more information.