Sing and Sign baby signing classes in... Putney & Barnes
Hello and Season's Greetings to the INSPIRING community of little early-communicators out there! Seven years of Teaching continues to be a joy to me, meeting so many wonderful Parents, their first Babies and in some cases now, up to their third and fourth Child! If you're new, come and join us for the Spring 2020 term starting in January... Register your names on the Booking Site today, to as many Lists as you like to tie in with your personal calendar. Within the Registration page, there is a "Notes" section for you to use, perhaps to notify me of your flexibility in terms of the day(s) you can attend and/or any questions you may have. If you prefer, email me instead. It may not be possible to answer your email straight away, especially at this very busy time within the term, but your interest is very important to me and your needs will be registered in my Booking Register regardless, so use the pink "Book Now" button to the right of your computer screen to alert me today and we can chat later to discuss your details... Hopefully, I can get to meet you in due course and help you begin this invaluable journey.
Hello! I'm Louise, your local Putney & Barnes representative...
To all new Parents, THANK YOU for visiting this page, showing interest in my classes.
Are you new to the idea of Baby Signing and you're wondering if it's "for you"...?
If so, please scroll down to the heading below: "Why choose Sing and Sign..." and hopefully, this will help explain to you the value and long term benefits of Baby Signing, as well as the Sing and Sign brand-style specifically, from my personal experience... After reading that information, please return to "STEP ONE" outlined here...
Have you already decided that this is the activity and class for you and you simply want to book a space...?
Yes? That's wonderful!
So let's get practical for the Spring Term with "STEP ONE"!
If you have already contacted me and you have yet to be offered a place, please contact me by email again so that we can discuss the situation and your position in the queue... Registers regularly change in shape and size, so with a little patience and by staying in touch, I hope to be able to gain you the slot you'd like... As described above, my communication efficiency may be a little slow at present, due to this busy time within the term. Hopefully, I will be communicating more efficiently with you all in the coming few weeks!...
If you have yet to make contact and alert me to your intentions, please use the pink "Book Now" function bar diagonally up in the column opposite here, situated beneath my name and contact details...
Select the Stage for you! Decide if you need to be with:
1: Stage One Babies (approximately 6+ months of age) or with...
2: Stage Two Toddlers (12-14+ months, depending upon previous experience with us and how active your Baby/Toddler is).
Classes are currently held within a two-day period only, on Wednesday and Thursday mornings only, ahead of the afternoon nap (hoping that a routine is starting to form for you...?). The Stage Two classes are always at 9.30am, presuming that the morning nap has now dropped from your schedule... The Stage One classes are held for younger Babies after their morning nap and your chance to (hopefully) get organised for an outing: namely at 10.45am on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Add your names and contact details against the class(es) of your choice - it's quick and easy to do! You'll be pleased to know that your address and other personal details are not required, although there is a box available for you to add notes for my attention, if you feel the need to do so... Currently, I am still positioning my renewal Clients into the Spring Term and so it may appear that there are only Waiting List places at present. Please don't worry - if the classes show "Waiting List" only, the system will still enable you to add your details, placing you high in the queue, ready to be allocated a slot in due course...
Increase your chances of gaining a position by adding your names to a NUMBER of class lists, gaining a good position in the various queues which invariably vary in length.
The Waiting Lists always vary in length, and so if you can be flexible in terms of your preferences for different times and venues, that MAY help you gain a position - you are invited and advised to add your name to as many Waiting Lists as you like, putting your name against the day(s) which you deem relevant to suit your location and timetable. You may do so without commitment, so you have nothing to loose! In doing so, I hope that a secure position can be made available for you behind the scenes for one of your days of choice at least!
The key concern for you today is gaining a position in any queue...
So, if you are keen to take part, or even if you are simply looking for a trial class at some point, firstly, add your names to the lists. Hopefully, I will manage to speak with you or email you before too long, after your point of contact is made, to answer your questions or concerns before you finally decide to commit... THANK YOU most sincerely for your patience in the interim.
Frequently asked questions:
What are your chances of gaining a position from this point in time?
HOPEFULLY, this term, your chances are very high!
Almost ALL Stage Two Clients Graduated over the Summer, because they had already attended two terms of Stage Two, their speech was already impressively developed, and the Toddlers were turning two years of age in the early Autumn. Usually, their spaces on the Stage Two courses would be quickly filled by Stage Two renewals and the upcoming Stage One Babies who are already toddling around, ready to learn their new signing vocabulary! This time, however, there is space to spare - there are more gaps than usual left behind which I hope will help you enormously!
Why does it take so long to settle the Registers and confirm slots for newcomers?
Over the years, I have tried to be as flexible and accommodating as possible with my established Clients, to help Parents take part and gain/continue to gain the knowledge they need, whilst trying to sort out their personal needs, work commitments and timetables. As new Parents, there are many changing needs to attend to and I like to respect and work within the challenges of those needs, to enable them take part and learn. As ever, for this upcoming Spring Term, Clients have been trying to shape their work and nap needs around my classes, and this can take them some time, thought and flexibility... In particular, Family needs, personal needs, work days may all change, as well as Child-care and Nursery days offered, house-move dates, new-births and more - there is much to consider and I try to be sympathetic to all personal needs. Therefore, I am still trying my utmost to adjust bookings and see how many Waiting List Clients can be included.
USUALLY, many newcomers are gradually absorbed into position - it just takes a little time, patience and optimism!
There is fluidity - I MOSTLY find places for new Parents.
Spaces do arise!
Does it matter if I need to enter at the Stage Two level - is it too late to learn and will I ever catch up?
Even if you have missed the chance to start at the Stage One level, please do not worry, because over the years, I have managed to successfully work with MANY Families starting at this later point - I can soon help you to catch up, through conversation, email correspondence and the Weekly Handouts, providing revision for all! Clients are often amazed to see how within one or two weeks, their Toddlers start to settle into the classes and the atmosphere, keen to copy, communicate and learn from their peers!
Since the Summer of 2016, I have faced Waiting Lists which have been almost unruly in length. Whilst this is extremely flattering and gratifying, it has also been laced with regret because in some cases, Clients have been left in limbo for a while and, sadly, I have been unable to accommodate ALL Parents, for which I am very sorry. Behind the scenes, I have been trying to devise ways in which I can create more and more certainty for new Parents, rather than leaving you in limbo! Slowly, this seems to be happening and improving... Encouraging Clients to "Graduate" before second birthdays will be helping newcomers enormously this time!
Let's hope that I can find a slot to suit you all.
Hopefully, we will get to meet soon!
Now, in my seventh year of Teaching Sing and Sign, news seems to have spread about the value of the "Sing and Sign" experience. More than ever, I feel quite overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and volume of keen and committed Parents out there these days... Some lovely newcomers (and an increasing numbers of returning Parents) even contact me as soon as their new Babies are born! So, let's now get YOU started!
The Term structure:
You will be able to find Stage One and Stage Two at a choice of four locations, across a spread of three consecutive days:
i: Wednesday in Putney, at St Mary's Church, in the light, bright, big Lancaster Room;
ii: Thursday in Putney again, at St Mary's Church, within a cosy, carpeted room; and
iii: Ordinarily, Friday in Barnes, at both the Methodist Church and at the OSO Community Arts Centre by the beautiful Duck Pond.
iv: Classes for "Sing and Sign Babes" MAY be added to the Thursday schedule at some point but there are no current plans in the short term...
Afternoon classes would clash with the highly valuable afternoon nap (your Baby's, not mine!) and so in respect of that, you'll find that I only teach in the mornings...
To new Parents who are looking at this page for the first time and my returning, lovely and loyal Families, WELCOME - teaching you all is a very rewarding experience for which I am very grateful!Why choose "Sing and Sign" as the teaching framework to help you?...
Sing and Sign terms follow a carefully balanced Curriculum, which gently guides you through the process - the process of simply becoming more gestural in your communications. We gently build your signing "vocabulary" around key topics, week by week. The songs, lyrics, props and images add to the fun!
Whilst considering whether or not you would like to join our classes, you may like to learn about the effects of “Sing and Sign” teachings in particular on our own Children… Having attended her first "Sing and Sign" class at the age of 7 months, our eldest Daughter made her first signs (namely, “more?” and “all gone!”) between the age of 11 and 12 months. Our youngest demonstrated a good understanding of our signs from an even earlier age, 'though it wasn’t until she was about 13 or 14 months of age that her signing really "took off" - she suddenly had a lightening awakening to the freedom felt when you can initiate a conversation… we were on holiday and she was enchanted by the local birds, cats and dogs and couldn’t wait to tell us about them! A surge of confidence then flowed and she has never looked back!
By the age of two years, I loved the little conversations we shared through both words and signs, cementing the very close bond we already enjoyed. For some months prior, she had been able to tell me so much, from her food choices, transport vehicles and animals, to even colours and her emotions! It never ceases to amaze me how much processing there is in the hearts and minds of even very young Babies - from a very young age, these little people can grasp complex concepts and even tell us that they feel happy, or even sad and angry, especially if ideas in their world haven’t gone according to plan! The fact that as Parents, we can acknowledge each emotion and show that we are listening demonstrates empathy and as a result, can often stem a tantrum from escalating.
Our youngest loved to “chat” using her signs and sounds so much that her verbal skills were soon becoming more and more sophisticated and ambitious for her age, constructing words into sentences to compete with the rest of her family! Sometimes however, her articulation was still a little unclear, leading to confusion if a subject was raised out of context. Thankfully, however, because she knew how to sign the words in conjunction, we could all share the thrill of a “Eureka!” moment when we suddenly understood one another once more!
As an extension of this experience, I feel keen to help other Parents and Carers to stimulate an early rapport with THEIR children. It has been an enlightening experience for us to uncover what thought processes have been happening in our Daughters’ minds. Three years of Teaching in Putney and Barnes has confirmed how magical it can be to listen to and communicate with Babies and Toddlers, inviting theme to express ideas from an early age - guided by my delightful Parents/Carers, there are now some AMAZING young communicators in our area... It would be a wonderful therefore to extend this pleasure by working with you and your little one(s)…
As a Parent, patience and perseverance is key, but as we all agree, the signs you will encounter are intuitive and easy to learn and you’ll love the “Sing and Sign” songs that guide you - you'll soon find it easy to blend our teachings into your world. In our home, I have found myself singing my way through many events each day to conjole or calm our way through tricky moments. Even these days, now fully able to express themselves verbally, our girls still like to place "Sing and Sign" song requests with me wherever we are: in the car, playing with toys or perhaps at mealtimes, simply to amuse and entertain themselves! By this stage, I often struggle to think of the original lyrics to well known tunes, now over-written by "Sing and Sign’s" lyrics in my memory!
In our classes, Children can feel entranced by the music and their communicating Baby & Toddler chums. For you, you can enjoy a relaxed, fun, learning environment and make new Friends along the way! I hope you do...
Why did I decide to train others to Sign? Well, Signing fascinates me! Makaton and its merits were introduced to me over 25 years ago by the Children I voluntarily cared for at a MENCAP linked respite centre. When I became a mum 9 years ago, I actively sought the existence of a baby-focused form of Makaton and found “Sing and Sign”. We now have two delightful Daughters - both confidently signed and maturely expressed themselves from an early age – the eldest even helped me to teach her little Sister and translated when necessary! Our youngest Daughter, who started School last Autumn, really enjoyed signing the letters of the alphabet and used the associated Phonic sounds to help her pronounce and attempt to spell simple key CVC words. Indeed, she often used to refer to certain letter-signs to remind herself how to identify them and write them down. She soon had such a firm grasp of the letters such that it is no longer necessary but the benefits of the signing still exists in our home! The positive benefits felt from early communication has motivated me to help others in a similar way, and our girls are delighted that I am doing so!
My background: Apart from my personal enthusiasm to help Children (and Parents!) as best we can, Training and Communication have always been my focus. I have a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, and so the communication of thoughts and has always interested me. This led to a career within the Publishing Industry, where I gained further Diplomas in various Communication Studies, and spent 18 years training young Graduates to become effective communicators in the world of Marketing, Sales and Management. For 5 years, until November 2014, I was the Volunteer Leader of our local playgroup, having fun and singing songs as well as guiding Toddlers and their Parents or Nannies to make and create specific ideas at our Arts Activities Table each week.
Over the years, we have loved seeing the results Signing within our home. I would love to work with you to achieve the same joy for your Family. I hope you can join me and my loyal and lovely Clients within our Putney and Barnes-based classes and in doing so, meet and make lovely new contacts from your neighbourhood!
Written originally in April 2013, updated 10th December 2019.
The Autumn Term, ended last week and so we can now look ahead of the start of the Spring Term, starting in January. New Parents can register today, using the "Book Now" button on the right of your computer screen and enter your names... Places are offered on a first-come basis. In addition to registering your interest, please email me your hopes or questions and I will see what I can do to help you... Please be assured that I will contact you as soon as possible. If you haven't heard from me, PLEASE do not hesitate to contact me again, or indeed call me on 020 8780 1444... Thank you for your patience in the interim.
Currently I am still arranging renewal positions for the current Clients and seemingly, this term, we haven't needed to say "farewell" to any two-year old "Graduates"... Instead, there are many Stage One Clients who are ready to move up to Stage Two, leaving lots of space for newcomers behind them...
How lovely it is that I can still spend time with the upcoming generation, to take their knowledge to the next level in the Spring!
THANK YOU to my current Clients returning again, as well as the PREVIOUS Clients who are planning to return to me with their new Babies - what a treat!
Thank you to all newcomers who are now contacting me for the Spring Term - I look forward to communicating with you and ultimately settling you in...
Together, old and new Parents alike, really help to make my classes relaxed, fun and a highlight to the week - for me as much as you it seems!
The Spring Booking Site is now opening up for the use of new Parents, to register their interest... Currently, I am still positioning some renewal Clients - you'll see that there is "Waiting List" status only for most of the classes but that's no problem - I feel confident that this term, despite a reduced timetable, I will be able to confirm a slot for you!
So PLEASE feel free to just book yourself in (as explained, step by step, overleaf) and then email me directly with your intentions. Please note that at this busy time in the term, the speed and efficiency of my communications be somewhat slow, with my apologies. If however, your message is urgent, please do make that clear in your communication to me. Please be assured that so long as your name is on the registers, with a Waiting List position given, then your place in the queue is safe and HOPEFULLY, I can award you a full position in due course, as soon as possible.
Thank you for your understanding.
Remember, if the classes seem full, please don't feel that a closed-list is closed for ever - existing Clients need to drop-out as circumstances change (work and Childcare issues are currently common...), at which point, I always refer to the Waiting List Parents specifically, contacting you each in turn on a first-come basis.
You'll be pleased to know that you can be on as many Waiting Lists as you like, and some lists are always much shorter than others, so feel free to "book away" in the hope that eventually, I can gain you a slot!
Please note, sometimes I feel nervous and have evidence that some email messages fail to arrive in my Inbox. If, therefore, you have been trying to reach me without success, feel free to contact me on 020 8780 1444 for speed and I will help you from there...
Thank you for both your patience and understanding on all matters.
Class times and dates for the AUTUMN Term:
The Autumn Term is 11 weeks in length, and will be starting on Wednesday 11th September affected by the usual Half Term Breaks. The Barnes classes will be temporarily suspended again. The Putney date specifics are STILL early predictions at present, likely to change slightly once School commitments become FULLY known over the next few weeks.
The class structure, with Stage Two at 9.30am, and Stage One following on mid-morning is likely to remain the same for the Summer and Autumn Term, based upon the feedback from my continuing Clients.
At a cost of £132, the Autumn Term will include a Seasonal Special at the end, leading us towards the December School break... Each class lasts about 50 - 60 minutes in length. Clients like to chat pre and post class and so they all tend to allow a FULL HOUR for the experience.
Putney, St Mary's Church, SW15 1SN
Start date: Wednesday 11th September:
Lancaster Room: 9.30am Stage Two;
10.45am Stage One
Half Term break: Wednesday 23rd & 30th October
Final class: Wednesday 4th December 2019.
Putney, St Mary's Church, SW15 1SN
Start date: Thursday 12th September:
The Godly Play Room: 9.30am Stage Two;
11am Stage One
Half Term break: Thursday 24th & 31st October
Final class: Thursday 5th December 2019.
Barnes, Methodist Church by the Pond, Common Room, SW13 0NH
Start date: ?
The Common Room: 9.30am, Stage Two
Temporarily suspended: please notify me if you have a particular need for this day or location...
Barnes, OSO Community Arts Centre by the Pond, SW13 0NH
Start date: ?
Studio One: 11am, Stage One
Temporarily suspended: please notify me if you have a particular need for this day or location...
When Friday classes are running, they are often affected by School commitments - the details for which should continue to emerge during the School holidays.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
If you have a new born Baby, or you're simply planning ahead, you can also add you name to the Autumn List today, so that I am aware of you and your needs! Registering your intentions early is wise, particularly if you hope to attend with groups of Friends. Class sizes are limited to avoid over-whelming the little ones, so planning ahead is always advised to avoid disappointment...
Reservations are organised on a "first come" basis using the Waiting Lists specifically. Historically, I have taken into account when email conversations began but increasingly, due to the volume of Parents out there, I need to abide by a more simple science, referring only to the dates in which interest was registered onto the Waiting List, in the interests of being fair to all.
Historical developments to date, shaped around Clients' needs and requests:
Summer 2013, classes are launched in Putney.
Autumn 2013, classes begin at the OSO in Barnes.
Spring 2014, due to high demand, a second centre is found in Barnes at the Methodist Church.
Summer 2014, Stage Two is launched in Putney.
Spring 2015, Stage Two is launched in Barnes Methodist Church.
Autumn 2015, Sing and Sign Babes is launched for the first time... Parents want to start signing earlier and earlier these days which is admirable!
2016 & 2017, there is an increase in the number of Clients returning with their second Children - the new generation!
2017, Waiting Lists for future terms were released on-line as a trial, to help proactive, enthusiastic new Clients plan ahead and hopefully gain a slot.
2019: The timetable gradually reduces in size until the Barnes classes are suspended completely to enable me to attend a course. Future plans are not yet known. As I entered my seventh year of Teaching, with a heavy heart and after MUCH debate and consideration, I decided to reduce my Teaching timetable, to help me catch up after a very busy year as a Family and to enable me to attend a course for further education. As a result, for the time being, I will not be at the OSO or the Methodist Church in Barnes. Since May, Barnes-based Clients have been attending Putney classes instead. It does involve travelling to Putney, just as Clients did in 2013 when I started... When I was attending classes myself, I needed to travel too but clearly, I am glad that I did! FORTUNATELY, I have had so many lovely and loyal Clients travelling some distance to my classes previously, I am hoping that new Parents are also happy to adjust. THANK YOU for your cooperation, your understanding and your interest!
Hopefully, this information enables you to see how the timetable is constantly evolving as I try to accommodate Clients' needs, as well as those of my Family. As such, it's always worth asking or making suggestions if you would like to take part but cannot find a day to suit your personal timetable.
For the little "Babes" out there, I am hoping that we will be able to find you a mutually agreeable date to suit your needs... Introducing the Babes class in the Autumn Term of 2015 was a lovely gentle start to the Babies communication experience, but since then, I have struggled to find a space in the week to accommodate any extra classes. Let's hope that this coming term, I can construct a plan at some point, perhaps for mid way through term... PLEASE feel free to call/email me to discuss the idea if you are interested... 020 8780 1444
Meanwhile, thank you again to my wonderful returning Clients - you seem to be increasing in number all the time, forming a majority, which is so rewarding for me - it's a delight to see your Babies grow and develop from term to term...
Thank you and farewell to my "graduating" Toddlers - it's always hard to say good bye to you but, I look forward to hearing your continuing news and anecdotes from your Parents, via email or by bumping into you around the streets of Putney! A few new Babies have just been born and others are due very soon, so I send you my very best wishes too...
Welcome, welcome to new Clients and new Siblings! It's fun meeting the new Babies and it's a privilege to see your Families grow. I hope that this can be the start of a wonderful experience for you, too!...
Please contact me for further details via email on email@example.com or on 020 8780 1444.
I hope the current choices of classes, venues and Stages accommodate your needs when planning your weekly timetable of events and interests. Do feel free to ask whether adjustments can be made to the skeletal plan set out for the future terms - I aim to be as flexible as possible to cater for Client needs.
Last updated 10th December 2019.
St Mary's Church, Putney, and The OSO & Methodist Church, Barnes.
At St Mary's Church, Putney, Wednesday classes are generally held in the Lancaster Room, situated above the Pantry/Cafe. Thursday classes are now in the carpeted Godly Play Room which can also be found on the first floor, alongside the Lancaster Room, near the lift. The Church itself is situated by the bridge, alongside the cinema, at the junction of Putney High Street and Lower Richmond Road. There is plenty of room to leave prams at the back of the Church. Many Clients attending the 9.30am Wednesday class often choose to bring their Babies in their prams directly into the Lancaster Room via the lift. The lift is particularly welcome if the Babies are still napping at that time in the morning - they can be easily wheeled into class without being disturbed enabling me to teach you!
The Cafe serves as an ideal location for you to relax with new and existing friends, to chat and swap ideas at the end of sessions. There are high chairs available and a good range of food choices, all cooked on site. A loyalty discount card exists to help you make lunch or a coffee/tea break part of your weekly routine. Issa, the cafe Owner is now offering some pureed food choices for Babies... but just in case you can't find a food choice to suit your needs, it may be wise to bring your own reserves at the start of the term until you feel familiar with the selection on offer for you. He has recently been trialing a range of homemade Baby food on Wednesdays and Thursdays to help Sing and Sign Clients. Pre Summer, I believe that he was creating a Baby-friendly Spagetti Bolognese, a Fish Pie and he hoped to trial a vegetarian option, possibly including lovely lentils. Feedback and ideas will be GRATEFULLY received by Issa.
Putney is served well by buses, tubes and trains. Metered parking on SOME side streets is possible (please read the signs carefully!) but, many Clients choose to park at the neighbouring supermarkets for ease (such as Waitrose and Sainsbury), completing their shopping before journeying home.
Our original venue choice in Barnes is at the lovely OSO, the "Old Sorting Office" and Arts Community Centre, in the heart of Barnes, by the duck pond. Increasingly, as the venue plays host to an array of scheduled plays and dramas, we will be allocated to the glass fronted Studio Three which looks onto the cafe area, rather than the traditional slot in Studio One. There is a cafe within the building which was refurbished in 2014. Also keen to cater for your needs, Lisa, the Manager has introduced healthy, satifying food options, so feel free to chat to her and she will endeavour to help you. Again, just in case, it may be wise to bring your own reserves at the start of the term until you feel familiar with what choices could be on offer for you. After class on a Friday, there is often a lovely relaxing atmosphere with musicians and a singer, to lull you into a relaxed, Friday-afternoon mood!
Due to popular demand, a second exciting new venue was been secured within Barnes: namely, the Methodist Church by the Duck Pond, next door to the OSO Community Arts Centre. There is a coffee shop, but not at a time which coincides with our timetable. That said, given the Church's proximity to the OSO, Clients can easily find a relaxed environment to chat and have a snack once the class comes to an end.
Please note, if arriving by car, although metered parking does exist, it is limited. It can be found at certain points around the perimeter of the Green, along Station Road and Church Road. More spaces are available early in the morning, but as the 11am class is due to begin, spaces can become increasingly scarce. Some slots are available offering one hour for free (please read the signs carefully!) which can appeal, but again, they are in limited supply. As such, if coming from further afield, to enjoy the benefits of easy parking and a more relaxed class accordingly, you may prefer to choose a Putney based class...
For more information, please do not hestiate to contact me... 020 8780 1444
Day Time Stage Location Friday AM Stage 2 Barnes Methodist Church Friday AM Stage 1 The OSO Community Arts Centre Wednesday AM Stage 1 & 2 St. Mary's Church, Putney Thursday AM Stage 1 & 2 St. Mary's Church, Putney
Nursery Affiliations are now available...
If you happen to own or manage a Nursery and would like me to help train your Team, introducing them to the world of Baby Signing and helping the Children in your care accordingly, then please do not hesitate to contact me - I would be more than happy to discuss our Nursery Affiliation Scheme.
Many of my early Clients have now moved on and are attending Nurseries. Some feel that they would benefit enormously if their Nursery Teams could communicate with their Children using both speech and supporting signs.
You can reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org or via the "Make an Enquiry" button opposite, on my page, to consider this further...