Sing and Sign!
Here is Kelly's journey from class participant to teacher:
I discovered Sing and Sign purely by accident. I was fairly new to the area when my second child arrived and whilst browsing what was on offer I came across the website for Sing and Sign. It intrigued me. I was aware of sign as a language for the deaf community but as a tool to communicate with babies? The concept was new and exciting so I decided to go for it.
I had no idea what to expect that first morning we arrived but the feeling of amazement that I came away with after the first lesson has stayed with me ever since. My son and I sat there and watched transfixed as other parents and babies enjoyed the songs, explored the signs and had fun with music. We had no idea what we were doing but to see the enjoyment of the other parents, to see some of the children sign as they were singing... it was just wonderful. Jessie cat became a firm friend to both of us. I loved it then and have loved it since.
The class is about learning to communicate, it works using music and singing to encourage learning. Such a simple but wonderful concept. There were no flashing lights, dress up or expensive props. Its a room full of adults and children singing together to learn sign language, it kept my son and I enthralled for 5 terms.
I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see your child's first sign. Ours was 'more' and, as I always say to my parents, it wasn't an exact science but I knew what he meant. My son's signing ability grew and we were able to understand his wants and needs long before his speech developed (his favourite was always 'more' though!) I was continuously in awe of what my baby was achieving; without Sing and Sign I would never have had the joys of communicating with him so soon.
Benefits of signing include:
Helping to understand your baby's needs, thoughts and ideas
Reducing frustration (for baby and parent!)
Enhancing early vocabulary and understanding
Encouraging the development of speech
Enriching your baby's relationships
Building confidence and self-esteem
Stimulating your baby's intellectual and emotional development.
At some point during our Sing and Sign journey I had already decided that I wanted a break from my NHS career to spend more time at home with my children. I decided to apply for the job of a teacher with Sing and Sign. I was devastated when I was told there were no vacancies!
Some months later I was offered the chance to own my own Sing and Sign franchise and the next stage of my journey began.
After training and mentoring I started my first classes in Rayleigh and Basildon (both in Essex) working two days a week. Over the last two years, I have expanded to teach in Wickford and my home town of Benfleet working 5 days a week. I also teach privately and can offer professional training to child care facilities.
I love what I teach, I know it works and have seen first hand the benefits it can bring. I love its inclusiveness, how we all learn the same way, in the same class. I love singing (just ask my NHS colleagues about night shifts at 4am!) and I love that this class is different.
Sing and Sign challenges both adults and children; it offers you the beginnings of a life skill. It gives you the gift of communication with your baby and an eye opening journey in what's achievable with small babies - you can join with your baby whenever you are ready. The 3 classes offered are:
Babes (any age up to around 7 months)
Stage 1 (6 months plus)
Stage 2 (14 months to around 24 months).
Even if your child is is already beginning to communicate more, increasing your toddler's vocabulary with a few signs is still a great idea! Many nursery settings now use signs to help encourage the development of speech.
Sing and Sign is a journey I have cherished both as a parent and a teacher!
Check out Kelly's Sing and Sign page here: https://www.singandsign.co.uk/classes/classes-near-you/rayleigh-benfleet-and-basildon
Not local to Essex? There are 900 classes across the UK; find your nearest one here: https://www.singandsign.co.uk/classes/classes-near-you