Guest blog from Talking Tots
As speech & language therapists Lisa and Tracey, the founders of Talking Tots, know the importance of helping children to develop some of life’s most important skills:
- Concentration and attention to make learning easier
- Pre-literacy skills which help pave the way for reading and writing
- Communication skills which help little ones express themselves
- Sharing and taking turns, helping everyone get along better!
Talking Tots classes help support the development of all of these skills, but paramount in every one of the sessions is helping children to develop good self-esteem and social confidence.
Luna attends Talking Tots classes in Maldon with her Mum Mari who describes Luna as “a rather shy little girl who takes a long while to warm up to people and talk to them. She continues that “Luna didn’t want to interact with other children and I was worried she would find it very hard to make friends. She has an elder brother with autism and his speech is not fully developed, which is why I wanted her to attend the classes as she was not getting the modelling from her brother as one would expect.”
Mari decided to take Luna to Talking Tots classes to avoid having problems with her speech and communication. “She was never too eager to leave my lap when in children’s groups and Amanda made a difference for her, she came out of her shell with her. She now talks and talks and talks and everyone is very surprised at the fact that she is not two yet.”
Mari adds “Her confidence has increased and she is willing to respond to other adults talking to her, once she knows them, she will talk to them but if not sure she will still nod and acknowledge them.
Now that her speech has improved she has become a good model for her brother and they have become closer. So life at home has become easier.”
“It’s an absolute delight to see young children blossom and take great pride in taking their turn in a group” says Amanda, Talking Tots franchisee in Essex, “Luna loves Totsy’s ball. She gets very excited when it comes out and gets her Totsy’s legs ready straight away.”
Children learn through repetition. Luna has benefitted from the safety and structure of the class and as a result felt able to begin to relate to her peers and other adults. One way to help your child learn new words and use phrases is through verbal repetition and ‘verbal routine’.
A ‘verbal routine’ is a word or phrase that is repeated throughout an activity or game. In Talking Tots classes, young children enjoy ‘word play’ games using brightly coloured cards that help to develop vocabulary and early sentences. Talking Tots class leaders guide the children through an interactive story using key vocabulary which is repeated. Because of the predictability even the very shy children are able to join in.
Tracey Park, co founder of Talking Tots, suggests you can do this at home too, “When reading with your child, don’t necessarily read the words straight from the pages. Find a fun repetitive ‘tag line’ and encourage your little one to join in. Keep it short and simple.”
Talking Tots classes run across the UK. For more information visit their website http://www.talkingtots.info