About Our Classes
Little Angels classes are tailored to the experience of the group, so please don’t worry if you’ve never done any form of sign language before! All sessions are completely flexible around what the group wants to learn, so if you have any specific requests, please feel free to contact me and ask before the session and I’ll see what I can do to meet your requests.
For signing, it is important that the baby is able to see you, or at least someone who is doing the signs! For this reason some parents find it easier to have their baby in a bouncer chair, or propped up on a cushion or pillow so that they find it easier to see you. It is also perfectly fine to have your baby lying on the floor or sitting up facing you (or the teacher) if you prefer. It doesn’t even matter if your baby is not really focussing on you during the session- if you are learning and using the signs, your baby will pick them up too. The important things are that the parent has both of their hands free to sign, and the baby is able to see someone who is doing the signing.
For the first week or so, as all of the songs and signs are new, we will cover four songs per session, increasing to five and then six as parents get more accustomed to the signs we’re using.
Each week we do a little recap of some of the key signs previously learned before learning new ones, to check that everyone is happy with what we have already done. We always learn the key signs for a song before singing it so that parents feel confident that they are doing the signs correctly, and start off singing and signing the songs slowly to allow both parents and babies to process the words and signs. As we get more used to the key songs week by week, we can speed up a little and start using backing tracks.
We build up the number of signs learned each week until each session follows this structure:
We start with the “Hello” song, learn how to sign each baby’s name, and all sing and sign “hello” to them each individually.
Briefly recap the key signs, then sing one of the key songs. These songs cover the most useful signs, such as “mummy”, “daddy”, “milk”, “more”, “nappy”, “I want / would like”, “all gone”, “happy” and “sad”. As the weeks go on and these songs become more familiar, we can increase this part of the class to cover two key songs.
We then learn a new song (or occasionally play a game) using signs that are useful in day-to-day life, for example, about bathtime, numbers, colours, toys, food, feelings and more.
Next, we have a moment to take in and practice the signs we’ve learned. There are toys and books for babies to play with and parents have the chance to ask the teacher to go over any signs again or ask for any specific requests. For example, if a specific family member is coming to visit that week, parents can ask the teacher how to sign their name.
After this, we learn some more signs and have another song, this time about a particular theme. This could be “On the Farm”, “At the Zoo”, “Going to the Doctor”, “Under the Sea” or “At the Beach”, just to name a few. This part of the session often involves props or feely books for the babies to play with so that they can learn to associate the word, the sign and the real-life object (word association).
We then sing our goodbye song, saying and signing goodbye to each baby by name in turn.
Afterwards babies can have some free time playing with the toys and parents can discuss any signs they want to go over again. We can also have a cup of tea and cake while discussing how parents can help babies to develop important cognitive and physical skills to give them a great head start at nursery or school, which comes around frighteningly quickly!
Classes run in 6-week blocks. Unfortunately signing doesn’t really lend itself to the drop-in style of classes as we build on the signs learned each week, but if parents have to miss a session they are welcome to come to the equivalent session the next time it comes around with another class. I’m always happy to “catch up” with parents before a session if they missed any key signs the previous week.