As baby, toddler and pre-school community groups return to their new normal, we are very excited to tell you that Bloom Baby Classes have made a commitment for their whole network to achieve Makaton Friendly Status!
Bloom Baby Classes run sensory classes for babies across the UK. Classes support parents by teaching baby play activities that can be replicated at home to support overall development. Now all class leaders make their language visual by using signs and symbols in their classes.
What was the motivation?
Jennifer Ellison, Makaton Tutor and Speech and Language Therapist, has seen how Makaton can open up communication for all children with a range of language needs. As a parent, she has seen Makaton build on language from an age far earlier than expected. Jennifer runs preschool language enrichment sessions with an aim to reach as many families as she can to unlock communication. Her ‘Little Talkers’ sessions consider the social model of disability and aim to help families to recognise the barriers that make life harder for people with communication difficulties.
By using Makaton with lots of families, she hopes that all children will continue to use signs and symbols alongside their speech as they become school-aged. Thus helping those children who rely on Makaton in their everyday talking. By removing these barriers, she aims to create equality and ultimately offer those who are experiencing communication difficulties more independence, choice and control.
How did it all start with Bloom Baby Classes?
During lockdown, Victoria Jennings (Founder of Bloom Baby Classes) set up a ‘Bloom Wellbeing’ parents group on Facebook. The aim of this group was to create a safe space for parents who were stuck at home to seek advice and share information to help support their developing babies. Victoria coordinated sessions from a range of professionals to share information with parents through motivating posts and videos.
Jennifer’s passion to offer Makaton to the wider community was noticed within the group, as she volunteered to run fun, weekly ‘Makaton Monday’ speech and language sessions for the Bloom Wellbeing families. From this, the Bloom love for Makaton took off, and a plan was put together to train all Bloom Baby Class network leaders in all of their locations across the UK!
What to look out for
Bloom class leaders are now using the Makaton Language Programme in many ways!
You can look out for them signing:
- Makaton sign of the week
- Weekly focus topics
- Greetings in class
- Now/next instructions between sensory activities
- Weekly songs linking to their topics
You can look out for symbol use within:
- Identification of areas within class e.g. buggy park, shoe space, toilets etc
- Class timeline of activities
- Weekly topic board
For more information search for us on social media:
- Little Talkers Baby/Toddler Signing Club – Jennifer Ellison
- Bloom Baby Classes – Victoria Jennings
- Or visit www.bloombabyclasses.com