Welcome back to another week of the “Share Your Story” series. Last week Joey from Life Got Me Like sharing her story on “finding her way”. This week I have ever so lovely Jo from Cup of Toast Blog sharing her experience with Sing and Sign classes. Let me introduce you…
Cup Of Toast Blog
Hi! I’m Jo. I blog at Cup of Toast in between enjoying a hectic family life with my husband, our three young sons and our loveable fur babies.
When I became pregnant my husband and I made the joint decision that I wouldn’t go back to work. At least, I wouldn’t go back to full-time work. Before the children came along I worked as a Human Resources professional. I pulled long hours, regularly working late nights, weekends and my phone even went on holiday with me. It didn’t seem conducive to our vision of family life for me to continue to do the same.
Chief came into our world and totally rocked it.
We were smitten, and before long I started taking him to baby classes. There was massage, sensory play, story time, and, in our case, Sing and Sign.
Sing and Sign is a franchise of baby signing classes.
I was first introduced to the idea of baby signing from a member of my family who went to a different signing class and I was fascinated by it. The basis is that babies start to use their hands to communicate before they start to talk. An example of this would be waving instead of saying “hello”. Initially it can be much easier to wave, quite often the associated language follows later. By using signs along with the spoken word, babies can learn to communicate with ease and develop such a keen enthusiasm for it that speech can come earlier and even faster than anticipated.
Chief loved the classes where signs were ‘taught’ through the medium of song which he and the other babies and toddlers found so engaging. Before long and with plenty of encouragement and reinforcement at home, he started to sign. We were delighted! His speech came along quickly too, and soon extra signs were used whilst some of the earlier ones were dropped in favour of the spoken word. It was fascinating to watch this development and his enjoyment of using signs with us.
When he was around ten months old I started to think about earning again, and when a teaching position opened up with the Sing and Sign franchise I jumped at the opportunity. Moving from HR into baby signing wasn’t perhaps the most obvious of career moves, but I loved it. Getting to know babies, toddlers and their parents and carers was great, and seeing the little ones starting to use signs was so fulfilling. The only negative was that I was going to the classes without Chief, but we still signed so much at home and he was a great audience for me to practice the syllabus with!
When I became pregnant with Munch I fully intended to return to teaching baby signing classes, but he had a medical condition which made childcare a little tricky so I chose to resign. I still signed with each of my boys though, and although they speak perfectly well now it has evolved into a useful tool to use across a crowded party or in a park. I love that we still use it and, perhaps most wonderful of all, because it is based on a mix of Makaton and British Sign Language Chief even once used it in a park with another child who was partially deaf. Seeing their face light up because he was able to converse just a little with them was so incredibly heart-warming.
I love baby signing, and whilst I miss teaching it I take comfort in knowing that both I and my husband and children have gained lifelong skills through using it. I am also very grateful to have had the opportunity to support other families with doing the same.
Thank you Jo for sharing your story. We used some basic signs with Reuben but more with Jessica as she went to classes – I imagine a career watching the babies learn it is so rewarding. And how lovely that Chief was able to communicate with a partially deaf child!
If you would like to follow Jo and read more of her wonderful stories then head over to her socials;