Local woman launches sign language class for babies

If you have ever seen a baby get frustrated by being unable to articulate what they want, you will understand the attraction of baby sign language. 

Emma McBride is launching Tiny Talk classes in the South Hams

Local woman Emma McBride, from East Allington, is launching Tiny Talk classes in the South Hams, starting online (damn you Covid-19!) and then getting back into physical classes as time goes on. 

Emma lives with her partner Johnathan and her daughter Esmé, and she found Tiny Talk classes when Esmé was little.
"I attended Tiny Talk classes in Totnes with Esmé when she was 6 months old", Emma explained. "We went to lots of baby groups but this was definitely our favourite. I loved the structure of the classes and that it was just the right amount of stimulation for me and my baby. Esmé would sit transfixed on the teacher whilst she taught us signs through a mixture of songs and books."
Esmé would sit transfixed on the teacher whilst she taught us signs through a mixture of songs and books
Emma said that the first time her daughter signed to her was "honestly like watching magic - a mini-miracle". "Although she was too young to be able to form the sounds to make words, she was able to tell me that she wanted 'milk', then shortly after that she wanted more food- she loves food!"
The first time my baby signed to me it was honestly like watching magic
Sign language can help babies communicate before they can talk

Babies who can sign can tell you what they're thinking about before they can talk. This means they can tell you what they want, how they're feeling or what they're looking at, and the seem to love being understood too! As parents, it takes some of the guesswork out of life and gives a baby the ability to be able to express themselves. 
Will teaching a baby to sign delay their speech? 
Emma said a common question is whether teaching a baby to sign will delay them learning to speak. 
"Not at all", she said, "In fact, because at TinyTalk we ALWAYS teach signs with speech, showing our babies how to make the signs and how to say the words, many of our signing babies also start to make early attempts at initial speech sounds, e.g. 'm' for 'Mummy', when they're making the signs. 
"Our babies are keen to get their message out!"

Classes involve a weekly theme including bedtime, family or a trip to the park and all the signs are British Sign Language. The classes are musical and feature well-known nursery rhymes, action songs and specially composed music and instruments. The classes also aim to develop all-round communication skills such as vocalising, listening and taking turns. 
Positive mental health is really important to us at Tiny Talk - which is why an integral part of our sessions is the social aspect
Classes are also a time to relax with a cuppa and make new friends whilst your baby enjoys social playtime. Emma said: "Positive mental health is really important to us at Tiny Talk - which is why an integral part of our sessions is the social aspect. 
"When in a venue, this is when I will provide you with a lovely hot drink and a biscuit (sadly you will have to make your own drink during our online e-classes) but we still have lots of time for finding out how everyone is, for you to request your favourite songs and ask any questions you may.
"Also did you know that singing is an amazing way to get the endorphins going and can really help combat post-natal depression? So not only are you and your baby learning an amazing life skill by signing, you are also doing something really positive for you!"
Did you know that singing is an amazing way to get the endorphins going and can really help combat post-natal depression?
Currently the classes are online due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you would like to find out more about Tiny Talk, contact Emma on 07734 859490. You can also find her on Facebook or visit the website www.tinytalk.co.uk/emmam/index.php 

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