Sign of the baby times

Baby signing class at the Balmoral Centre in Worksop  (w120306-15)
Baby signing class at the Balmoral Centre in Worksop (w120306-15)

I’VE done my share of singing nursery rhymes and miming out the actions.

The Wheels on the Bus, Incy Wincy Spider...I still know them all off by heart, thanks to three children and many hours spent at toddler groups.

But now a new Worksop group is taking it one step further by teaching tiny tots proper sign language as they sing.

Tiny Talk is a system of simple signing which claims to improve communication between babies and their adult carers.

Mums and dads won’t be left guessing what their baby wants any more if they can sign.

New mum Katie Peters has set up the classes at the Balmoral and Oasis community centres and is already planning to expand into Retford after Easter, at Captain Jack’s play centre.

She said: “”I had worked with deaf children before and I knew sign language, so when I heard about Tiny Talk I thought it sounded great.”

“It’s never too early to start signing with babies and expectant mums are very welcome too.”

“We say the word as we sign it so it doesn’t slow down learning to speak in any way and babies who have signed have spoken earlier.”

“I was working fulltime as a teacher before having my daughter Lydia and if I’d gone back she would have been in child care for nine hours a day, but doing this job means I can take her with me.”

Lydia is one and is already signing the action for milk.

Katie, 30, who lives on St Anne’s Estate in Worksop, launched the classes in January and said after a slow start they were now building up.

Sarah Whiting, of Gateford, was at the Balmoral session with her seven-month-old daughter Eleanor.

She said: “We’ve been coming since it started and it’s going really well, Eleanor has already signed for milk.”

“I tend to do the signing while she’s in her high chair and is a captive audience. I teach her dad the signs as well, and my mum and sister, so we are all doing it.”

“I think it helps with communication.”

Bassetlaw Hospital midwifery support worker Tara McCroakam, of Hall Croft, Retford, said her five-month-old daughter Isabella really enjoyed the sessions.

“I would recommend it to other parents,” she said.

Ella Jacobs, of Gateford Close, Worksop, said her one-year-old daughter Lucia could sign several words.

“She can sign milk, food, mouth, quick, monkey and mummy. She is talking as well and it just makes communicating better.”

“My four-year-old son Jace does the signs as well and sometimes makes up his own as well.”

Tanya Glassborow, of Worksop’s Prospect Estate, said Tiny Talk was “brilliant”.

She takes along her son Toby, one. “He doesn’t do the signing yet but he understands it,” she said.

“I’ve got two older children aged eight and 13 and they have been doing it as well. I like the social side of the class as well.”

Another one-year-old already signing as well as talking is Eva Varney. Her mum Sharon, of Gateford, said: “She can sign for mouth and drink and she says ball, baby, mummy and daddy.”

“I think it’s good stimulation for babies, it’s very good.”

Classes cost £4, for more information on venues and times call Katie on 07837 701222.