Parents try a sign of the times

Joelle and the TinyTalk class in Hebden Bridge
Joelle and the TinyTalk class in Hebden Bridge

Local mum Joelle McNichol is launching TinyTalk Baby Signing classes in Hebden Bridge this month to teach parents how to help their babies communicate before they can talk.

TinyTalk classes are weekly one-hour sessions, with signs taught through songs, games, books and sensory activities followed by playtime and refreshments.

Joelle, a former art teacher and mum of two, decided to start running classes two years ago after attending with her first child and being won over by the benefits she saw.

She said: “I really think signing is one of the best things you can do with your baby. Not only are the classes great fun but you are giving your baby an incredible gift in being able to express their needs and feelings with you long before they can talk.

“Signing babies are happy babies - everyone likes to be understood. And signing parents are happy too because it cuts down so much frustration on both sides and gives you a wonderful window into your baby’s developing mind.

“Babies are driven to communicate, and parents are great at tuning in to their babies’ needs, but signing just explodes what is possible. My first experience of signing was sitting in the kitchen one day with my friend’s babbling baby, when he suddenly signed ‘aeroplane’ having heard one fly past outside.

“I remember being amazed he was able to tell us that he had noticed the sound and understood what it was, and this was really only possible thanks to signing.

“There’s a really friendly supportive atmosphere in the classes, with plenty of giggles as we play, sing and bounce our babies. I love what I do!”

TinyTalk, now in its 14th year, is a national company with more than 125 teachers delivering its baby signing and toddler communication classes to over 7,000 families each week. TinyTalk Baby Signing classes will be running at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Monday mornings from 10.30am, starting on September 14.

Places, for new born to approximately two years, are limited and parents should get in touch for bookings or see for details.