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Welcome to Singalong Baby Sign

What is baby sign? Arrow to top of page

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"Instead of tantrums and guessing games my baby is able to let me know exactly what she wants."

Before babies can speak they naturally use a combination of sounds and gestures to help their parents understand them. They may point, wave bye bye or hello, clap their hands, or shake or nod their heads.

We believe this is a good time to introduce some more gestures to help your baby communicate. It’s really easy to do and your baby will enjoy it. You will be amazed by what your baby is capable of telling you before being able to talk.

What happens in a baby sign class? Arrow to top of page

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Nursery rhymes and action songs are great fun and we all know that musical activities help to stimulate language development. Singalong baby sign combines both music, song and baby signing.

Just as you would do the actions to a nursery rhyme, we teach you and your baby the signs to the words of the songs, making it extremely easy to remember – and you’ll have fun at the same time. As well as songs we use musical instruments, toys, puppets and books to inspire your baby’s interest and illustrate the signs.

The course will cover over 300 signs relating to your baby’s world. As you begin the term you will not be expected to remember all of the signs or start using them with your baby straight away. Learning with Singalong Baby Sign is a gradual and effortless process, increasing your signing vocabulary each week. Classes are themed and you will be given a booklet which covers 100 of the most popular signs that your baby will want to know, to assist the learning process.

Your teacher Arrow to top of page

Tracy is an extremely enthusiastic, patient teacher and is qualified in Makaton, the internationally recognised signing system used in the class. She has been CRB checked and also has experience signing with her own child. Tracy has worked with libraries, childrens centers and schools and, with their input, has put together a wonderful set of classes which span from birth to when your little one starts school.

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If my baby signs will he still learn to talk? Arrow to top of page

Yes, of course he will! If your baby crawls he will still want to walk. It’s just the next step. Communication works the same way. Your baby is desperate to let you know what he wants. We always say the word as we sign. Signs are never used alone and your baby will be encouraged to communicate verbally. In actual fact, baby signing encourages you to talk to your baby more. The use of gesture is a natural form of early communication and will only boost your baby’s vocabulary.

How soon will my baby begin to sign? Arrow to top of page

Other signing organisation will tell you that you should start to sign with your baby once they can hold a rattle or other toy and they start to have some movement and dexterity with their hands, which is around 6 months.

The interesting thing is that the reason other signing organisation tell you to wait to start signing to your baby only when they can begin to sign back is because most parents need to see instant results or they will not continue with baby sign. The fact is your baby is taking in everything and even though they may not be physically capable of signing, their ability to understand signs develops much earlier.

It’s the same with talking. Even though babies cannot talk for around the first 18 months of their life, most parents will happily chat away to their baby from newborn, this is how they learn and baby sign is no different.

When will my baby start signing back to me? Arrow to top of page

As a rule babies may make their first attempt at signing at about 8 months old and then have a signing explosion at around 13 months old where they start making lots and lots of new signs. Some sign sooner and some later, but there’s no rush, your baby will sign when he or she is ready.

What happens to the signs as my baby starts talking? Arrow to top of page

Your baby will use signs and immature speech together for a while. As speech improves, signs drop away until they are probably dropped altogether.

My baby is 18 months old, is this too old to start signing? Arrow to top of page

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At 18 months your toddler is probably already saying all sorts of things, in gesture and in words. However there are probably quite a few spoken words that all sound the same, or are unclear or there may be lots of words that are not being used yet, so using signs can be very helpful at what can be a very frustrating stage for your toddler. Signing is fun and can be a great encouragement, so increasing your toddlers vocabulary with a few signs is a very good idea.

How much will it cost? Arrow to top of page

Classes are around £5 per session depending upon location.

When can my baby come to classes? Arrow to top of page

Babies can come to babysign classes any time from newborn until about 2 years old, or until you can understand and communicate with your toddler. Your baby will start signing when he is ready, usually around 7/8 months old and in the meantime will have the added benefit of being signed to in the early months of his or her life.

What happens during each course session? Arrow to top of page

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Stage 1 and stage 2 sessions lasts between ½ an hour to ¾ of an hour, which consists of approximately half an hour of babysigning (babies tend to lose interest after this time) and 1/4 of an hour of social interaction with other parents. Babies can play and parents can have a cuppa, a snack and a chat. This is a great way to meet other parents in your area who are also signing with their children, thus increasing your baby’s exposure to signing and possibly increasing his or her signing potential.

Testimonial from Dr Anna Rycroft Arrow to top of page

Austin signs Ouch

Even before my son was born I was interested in the benefits of teaching young children to sign. I had seen friends children use it with great effect. My son was born in August 2011 and by the age of 7 weeks we were signed up with Singalong Baby Sign and have never looked back. Tracy's approach is gentle, fun and engaging. The format of Singalong baby sign is brilliant. Tracy incorporates new signs weekly, while reinforcing old ones through new songs. Classes are dynamic, interactive and progressive, and prove that even spending a few minutes a day will enable your child to learn the signs.

Even very small babies respond to the songs and soon learn that Buttons Dog makes a weekly appearance - usually greeted up squeals of laughter and frantic arm waving! By 9 months my son was signing, slowly at first, and now at 21 months he is gaining signs rapidly, using them appropriately and consistently.

There is much literature out there showing the benefits of signing with children but on a more personal level it is a way to communicate with your children before they are able to speak. This gave me an amazing sense of achievement and empowerment, and watching my son gain confidence and independence is thrilling.

What makes this so important for me is the fact that my son has Down Syndrome, and it would be too easy for people to overlook him. Tracy has been a constant source of knowledge and enthusiasm and is someone who shares in his triumphs as much as us. Both of us look forward to every class and I, as a parent, can not thank Tracy enough for all that she does for us. My son is proof, if you needed any, of the benefits of Singalong Baby Sign.

 

Testimonial from Linda Arrow to top of page

Primary School Teacher

We have so much fun at Singalong baby sign and have done so since we started attending sessions with Tracy when my son was just 3 months old. Initially going to sessions was a way to meet other mums and a chance for me to get a head start on learning the signs; it has since become an integral part of our weekly routine that we both look forward to greatly.

The structure of the weekly classes creates a safe and happy environment which is vital for the children and adults alike to learn. Tracy uses repetition and familiar songs and rhymes to make the sessions both enjoyable and meaningful. Her knowledge of language development is clear and her unwavering enthusiasm contagious!

My son is now 19 months old and we have a strong relationship, in part I'm convinced because of the way were are able to communicate with one another by making use of the signs we've learned at Singalong Baby Sign. Even before he was able to speak he could express himself through his signs, which in turn helped us to avoid many an unwanted tantrum! And now, as his language is emerging he signs to help convey meaning and explore his ever-expanding vocabulary.

It is simple to incorporate the signs into our everyday conversations yet the rewards are priceless! Every new sign is a shared triumph for us both and a another step forwards in his language development. We love Singalong baby sign and know you will love it too!

Free demonstration Arrow to top of page

If you run a toddler group or Childrens Center in the following areas or surrounding areas and would like a free demonstration please contact Tracy on 07768 447657.  Dartford, Gravesend, Hartley, Longfield, New Ash Green, Otford, Riverhead, Seal, Sevenoaks, Swanley or West Kingsdown.

Or visit www.facebook.com/SingalongBabysign for more information about free demonstrations coming up.

What the experts say Arrow to top of page

We, together with leading experts believe the benefits of signing with your baby are significant. Research is on going into the effect of baby signing on the development of a baby’s brain. In the first years of a baby’s life, the brain is wiring itself through the baby’s experiences. Whilst using signs, parents say the word for the sign, and babies tends to make a better language connection between the sign and the word. Many experts agree that this stimulates brain development and enhances the building of the brain circuitry.

Baby signing is said to increase IQ by 10 – 12 points and the child is more likely to speak earlier, have a larger vocabulary, are better readers, have a closer bond with their parents and do better at school as a consequence.

Below are some extracts from some leading experts:

 

“Being able to communicate is a fundamentally important part of human development. Baby signing builds upon the natural use of gesture and other nonverbal signals by preverbal infants, greatly enhancing their communication repertoire. Without spoken or sign language, children’s communication is pretty much restricted to the immediate here and now, for example being able to point at what they want. Once they can speak or sign they are able to tell us about their past experiences, future desires, thoughts and feelings.”

Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon,
Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling

 

“New research demonstrates that teaching sign language to hearing babies improves their language, vocabulary, and reading skills as they develop.”

Kristin Snoddon Article in WFD News, May 2000, Vol. 13 No. 1


Baby Sign Language May Boost IQ, Researchers Say Signing with Babies May Boost IQ, Family Relationship – please go to the link below to find out more:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmericanFamily/story?id=521213&page=1

 

Article taken from The Times February 13, 2009 Written by Times Science Editor, Mark Henderson

“Gesture effect” points to head start for toddlers

Parents who point and use other gestures with their toddlers can give them a head start with learning language, scientists have discovered.

New research in the United States has revealed that young children who pick up gestures from their parents at 14 months have larger and more complex vocabularies when they start school.

As well-educated parents from higher income brackets use more gestures with their babies, the findings help to explain why children from these families develop speech more quickly than those born into lower socio-economic groups.

The gesture effect may also have a lasting influence on children’s intellectual development, because a child’s vocabulary at the start of school is a strong predictor of later academic success.

Meredith Rowe, of the University of Chicago, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Goldin-Meadow, said the results suggested that parents should be encouraged to point and use their hands when interacting with their children.

“If there is any way to encourage children to gesture to things more before they can speak, that could be useful,” she said. “Talk to your children more, gesture more.” Details of the research were presented yesterday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago, and are published in the journal Science.

While it was already known that children whose parents talk to them more as toddlers develop language more quickly, the new research is the first to suggest that parental gestures are also important.

The reason may be that by learning to point at things, children become better at connecting words to objects. “Child gesture could play an indirect role in word learning by eliciting timely speech from parents,” the scientists wrote in their paper. “For example, in response to her child’s point at the doll, mother might say, ’yes, that’s a doll,’ thus providing a word for the object that is the focus of the child’s attention.” In the study, the Chicago team videotaped 50 families from different socio-economic groups for 90-minute sessions, all of whom had a toddler aged 14 months. They recorded details of how often both children and their parents spoke and used gestures.

Children from higher income families used gestures to convey an average of 24 different meanings over 90 minutes, while those from less privileged socio-economic groups conveyed only 13 meanings. This was attributable to greater parental use of gesture.

All the children were then assessed again at the age of four and a half (54 months), when they were starting school. The children who had gestured more at the age of 14 months had significantly bigger vocabularies.

Differences between children’s gestures were obvious at 14 months, even though children at that age showed no clear differences in vocabulary or speech.

“At 14 months of age, children are in the very early stages of productive language, they are saying very few words,” Dr Rowe said. “We didn’t see any differences in their spoken language but we did see difference in their gestures.

“It is striking that, in the initial stages of language learning when social economic status differences in children’s spoken vocabulary are not yet evident, we see social economic status differences in child gesture use.

“Children typically do not begin gesturing until around 10 months. Thus, social economic status differences are evident at a mere four months, and possibly even sooner, after the onset of child gesture production.” Dr Goldin-Meadow said the gesture effect could have a long-lasting effect on children’s development. “Vocabulary is a key predictor of school success and is a primary reason why children from low-income families enter school at a greater risk of failure than their peers from advantaged families,” she said.

Article submitted: 20.02.2009

Classes near you Arrow to top of page

FREE babysign demonstration session to be held in West Kingsdown on Tuesday 9th April at 11am in the Childrens Center next to West Kingsdown School.  No booking necessary.

Baby Sign classes are to be held in the following locations:

Aylesford, Eynsford and West Kingsdown.  Home visits now also available.

Bookings are now being taken for the next Term.

Date: Wednesday
Location: East Malling

Date: Thursday
Location: West Kingsdown

Date: Friday
Location: Eynsford

If you would like to be added to the waiting list please don't hesitate to call 07768 447657. 

The West Kingsdown group is held in the Kings Room, behind the Old School, School Lane, West Kingsdown, TN15 6JN and has plenty of free parking. 

The Eynsford group is held at the Olive Seal Hall, Pollyhaugh, Off Bower Lane, Eynsford DA4 0HE with free parking. 

If you can't find a suitable day/time, please let me know and I'll add you to my waiting list of alternative days, and as soon as I have enough children to run a class I will let you know.

If you run a toddler group in the following areas or surrounding areas and would like a free demonstration please contact Tracy on 07768 447657.  Dartford, Gravesend, Hartley, Longfield, New Ash Green, Otford, Riverhead, Seal, Sevenoaks, Swanley or West Kingsdown.

To secure your booking or to be added to the waiting list for the next term please contact Tracy either by phone 07768 447657 or email babysign@btinternet.com

Short courses for nurseries and childminders Arrow to top of page

Increasingly I have found that I am being approached by parents who are interested in finding childcare that offers baby signing as part of its curriculum. Singalong Baby Sign are now offering baby signing workshops to nurseries and Childminders in Kent..

Our signs are largely compatible with Makaton and similar sign supporting systems based on the signs of BSL. Incorporating the Singalong Baby Sign approach will also be of great benefit to any members of your staff currently using signs with children in your care who have special needs.

To become a Singalong Baby Sign Affiliated Nursery or Childminder costs as little as £40 and includes a wide range of ongoing joint benefits, including offering the best way to introduce signing, inspiring staff, advertising your services on the Singalong Baby Sign website and giving parents confidence in your approach.

For more information please contact Tracy on 07768 447657 or email babysign@btinternet.com

Dimples Day Nursery Visit

I was recently invited to give a taster session at Dimples Day Nursery and had a lovely time meeting the babies and delightful staff. Dimples is set in a lovely location surrounded at the rear by a beautiful field full of cows - how perfect!  The members of staff got straight into singing and signing the songs with me – as did the toddlers!  Buttons dog the puppet was particularly popular as always!

Dimples have recently implemented some initial signs with their babies and children and as I said goodbye I was actually thanked by all of the toddlers in sign language – which was really lovely to see.

Before I left I asked the staff to complete a feed back form. They gave me some lovely compliments and some ideas about how I could change the taster session for future nursery visits - for which I thank them.

Thank you very much Dimples – I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Tracy

Singalong Baby Sign Terms and Conditions Arrow to top of page

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