Ella is currently completing her fourth year of Norland training as a Newly Qualified Nanny in North Somerset near Bristol before she earns her professional Norland Nanny status.
My Makaton journey began in 2016, when I worked as a buddy through North Somerset Council providing care for children and young people with additional needs aged 4-16– many of whom used Makaton to communicate. It was then that I was able to witness how truly special Makaton is. Children in my care were able to express themselves independently, which meant that their frustration was eased, and preferences could be communicated. This was such an incredible moment to witness and I knew, there and then, that it was something I wanted to understand and become involved in.
Throughout my Norland training, I continued to develop my newfound passion by completing a Level 1 Makaton course, which I loved!
As a way of utilising the signs I had learnt on my Level 1 course, I began to sign songs and stories to aid my development. I also used Makaton whilst I nannied. It was so lovely to see that the early exposure to signing, in conjunction with speech, led the little people in my care to develop enhanced verbal skills, something I felt honoured to help with! As my confidence grew, I wanted to share this passion. I taught and signed a poem to students from my cohort (known as a set) at Norland, and together we performed to University of Seitoku students who were visiting Norland on a study trip from Japan.
Makaton quickly became one of the most enjoyable and rewarding skills that I have learnt. I started an Instagram account called @nannyellalynne, as a platform where I could share my love of Makaton and connect with others who felt this way.
When the Covid 19 pandemic hit, I produced daily sign videos showing what I had learnt, hoping to inspire others and revise my knowledge.
Knowing and using Makaton has impacted my daily life hugely. I feel proud that, by continuing my development, I have been able to create an open line of communication between myself and all groups of people who I encounter in my life. This is something I feel incredibly proud of.
In my line of work as a nanny, I can now use Makaton with the little people in my care to support them to develop their communication, language, and literacy skills. Signing while speaking has been shown to encourage the development of communication and language skills and, as a caregiver, gives me a greater understanding of the wants and needs of the babies and children in my care, which can help to reduce frustration.
Most recently, I have completed my Level 2 Makaton training, which I have really enjoyed. I cannot wait to complete Levels 3 and 4.
Makaton sign communication is so beautiful and creative and should be recognized for its true potential. For many people signing is their superpower and I, for one, hope more people will engage with this beautiful language and learn a new mode of communication.
Let’s continue to change the world one sign at a time!
Would you like to start or continue your Makaton journey? Click here to find training