From birth babies develop their own way of communicating their needs to an adult. From the cries of a newborn, to the babble of a three-month-old, communication is a basic means of survival.
This area of development is one of the most important areas alongside developing physical skills and social and emotional skills; as baby room practitioners it is our job to encourage these skills as soon as possible. One of the ways we have introduced is to use ‘Makaton’ a basic sign language developed as a communication between pre-verbal children and others.
I have recently attended a Makaton singing and signs training course which has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of learning opportunities that can be introduced through sign. It has also increased my knowledge of the wonders of a child’s brain and their amazing capacity to learn and store new information each day.
From this training, we have started introducing Makaton to the under two’s room and it has been an instant success. We are using basic nursery rhymes to learn the signs of emotions to help the children understand and express their own. We also have a new visual routine and ‘needs’ wall with pictures of the daily routine along with pictures of the signs we use to communicate them. Some of these pictures include food, drink and sleep and the children are beginning to understand that by using these we can enhance our communication skills whilst developing all areas of learning alongside.
Our babies and toddlers have been picking this up quickly and we even have children who use these signs at home, thus strengthening our home links and partnerships with parents.
Here’s a video of us using Makaton while singing nursery rhymes.
If you would like to see more please join us for our family Christmas dinner and carols as all the children have been practicing a very special Christmas song complete with Makaton signs.