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Sing and Sign baby signing classes in... Putney & Barnes

  • About Me

    Welcome to Putney & Barnes, catering for new Babes, Stage One Babies and Stage Two Toddlers... The Summer Term starts TOMORROW in Barnes! Registers are largely full and the system suggests that it's Waiting List status only, however, there is traditionally some movement at the start of each term as Babies settle into the right class for their age and interests. THANK YOU to all of you who have signed up to date. For newcomers who are keen to register their interest, you're more than welcome! Please register your names via the pink "Book Now" button to your right, to gain a position in the queue. Even if your classes of choice state "Waiting List Only", please continue because there will be movement and there are a few returning Parents who are holding a couple of places temporarily until their personal Summer timetables are fully known. Spaces will therefore arise, allowing me to offer slots to Waiting List Parents, even after the term gets underway...

    Hello!  I'm Louise, your local Putney & Barnes representative...

    THANK YOU for visiting this page, showing interest in my classes.


    Are you new to the idea of Baby Signing...?

    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 our classes specifically, from my personal experience...


    Have you already decided that this is the activity and class for you and you simply want to book a space...?

    If so, then lets get practical as quickly as possible!  

    Step one:

    If you have already contacted me and you have yet to be offered the place you asked for, please contact me again so that we can discuss the situation and your position in the queue...  Please note that the Registers are still changing in shape and size but the pace of change is slowing and so unfortunately, we need to have a little patience and to stay in touch! Please note that my communication efficiency may be a little slow at present, due to some unexpected health issues in the last couple of weeks, and as the School holidays begin and I become distracted my the additional needs of my Family and the Children.

    Step two:

    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...  The Summer Term remains open for your use...

    Step three:

    Select the Stage for you!  Decide if you need to be with the Stage One Babies (approximately 6 months of age+) or with the Stage Two Toddlers (12-14 months+, depending upon previous experience with us and how active your Baby is).  If your Baby is approximately 6 - 12 months in age and this is your first time attending, then please select Stage One.  All classes are held Wednesday to Friday, mornings only ahead of the afternoon nap!  The Stage Two classes are always at 9.30am.  The Stage One classes are held after the morning nap: 10.45am on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11am on Fridays.  My classes are mostly in Putney but I do hold classes in Barnes on Fridays.  Add your details against the class(es) of your choice  - it's quick and easy to do...

    Step four:

    Increase your chances of gaining a position by adding your names to a number of class lists.  Many Classes are seemingly Waiting List status only, but still proceed and add your name...  In doing so, you will be gaining a good position in the queue - the Waiting Lists are only just starting to build at this stage...  

    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, and, 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, despite delays resulting from Health and Family needs, as mentioned above, 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 commit...  THANK YOU most sincerely for your patience in the interim.



    What are your chances of gaining a position for the Summer Term from this point in time?

    HOPEFULLY, if you're at the Stage One level, your chances are still reasonably high, particularly for the Friday OSO classes at 11am.  

    Despite the fact that there due to be a large number of "Graduates" this month, their spaces on the Stage Two courses have already been largely been filled by Stage Two renewals and the upcoming Stage One Babies who are already toddling around and are ready to learn their new signing vocabulary!  As such, there were more gaps than usual left behind for new Stage One Babies, which I hope will help you enormously!  If you're at the Stage One level, the Thursday 10.45am Putney class appears to be the most popular again and so you would be wise to add your names to the Wednesday or Friday lists as well to raise your chances of gaining a slot!

    If you're at the Stage Two level, there appears to be reduced space in the Thursday 9.30am class and the Friday 9.30am Barnes class at this precise moment, so you would be advised to add your names to those Lists as soon as possible since the class numbers seem to be tight.  You may need to consider travelling to either Putney or Barnes, even if it is not your first-choice of location, to get started and get the term underway...


    Despite this, the situation can easily change over the next couple of months before the term starts...

    To explain, even if you don't manage to gain a position immediately, you may soon have success over the next few weeks, even if you miss the very first class or two.  This is because I try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible, whilst Clients try to sort out their needs and timetables.  As ever, some Clients are trying to shape their work needs around my classes, and this can take them some time, thought and flexibility...  In particular, work days, Child-care and Nursery days offered, as well as house-move dates can all change  - there is much to consider!  Therefore, I am currently trying my utmost to adjust bookings and see how many Waiting List Clients can be included.  

    Family situations, even nap times and personal needs can all change at any time and I try my very best to sympathetic to those personal needs.  Some Clients are currently holding a handful of slots whilst they await part-time work arrangements from their Employers.  

    USUALLY, many newcomers are gradually absorbed into position - it just takes a little time and optimism!

    Due to this fluidity, I OFTEN find places for new Parents.   Spaces do arise!  


    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 still very sorry.  Behind the scenes, I am trying to devise ways in which I can create more and more certainty for new Parents, rather than leaving you in limbo!  

    Let's hope that I can find a slot to suit you all.  

    Hopefully, we will get to meet in the eventually!


    Now completing my fifth 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 returning Parents even contact me as soon as their new Babies are born!  They, too, can now add their names to the Waiting Lists from today, even if they are more likely to start classes in the AUTUMN of 2018!  

    Fingers crossed that I can help YOU, too, in due course...

    THANK YOU!



    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: 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 for a June launch...


    Stage Two classes tend to be scheduled in the first half of the morning these days because the Toddlers have often dropped their early nap by that time in their world... 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 - welcome!  It's wonderful that you are considering the idea of signing with your Child and I really hope that I can be the one to help you in due course...

    It's also very exciting to find myself welcoming more and MORE younger siblings from previous Clients - a thrill and 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!


    Louise

    Written originally in April 2013, updated 19th April 2018.
  • More Info

    The Summer Booking System is open, even though the classes start tomorrow! Book yourself onto the Lists now and I can try to prioritise your needs behind the scene. Register your interest TODAY by using the "Book Now" button to add your name to the Registers, to gain a good position in the queue and to enable me to offer you a place hopefully in due course...

    THANK YOU to my current Clients returning - I'm thrilled to have you back!  

    Thank you to the large number of old Clients returning to me with their new Babies and TWINS in some cases - what a treat!  

    Thank you to all newcomers - I look forward to meeting you and working with you from tomorrow, all being well...

    Thank you ALL for your patience over this time!  Together, old and new Parents alike, really help to make my classes relaxed, fun and a highlight to the week!  


    It's wonderful to see how much interest there is out there. The Booking Site is open but, when trying to book a slot, you'll see that there is "Waiting List" status only for most of the classes...

    That's fine - PLEASE just book yourself in (as explained overleaf) and then email me directly with your intentions.  Please note that due to a health matter arising and the need to focus upon our Children as the School Holidays begin, the speed and efficiency of my communications may 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.  

    Even 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, emails problems previously experienced now seem to have settled down, but I do still feel nervous that some 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 technical matters. 


    Class times for the SUMMER Term:

    Fridays: 

    Barnes, Methodist Church by the Pond, Common Room,  SW13 0NH

    Start date: Friday 20th April:

       The Common Room: 9.30am, Stage Two

        No Half Term break:  Instead, there is no class on Friday 11th May or Friday 29th June

        Final class:  Friday 6th July 2018.

    Barnes, OSO Community Arts Centre by the Pond, SW13 0NH

    Start date: Friday 20th April:

        Studio One: 11am, Stage One

         The Common Room: 9.30am, Stage Two

        No Half Term break:  Instead, there is no class on Friday 11th May or Friday 29th June

        Final class:  Friday 6th July 2018.

    Omissions:

    Friday classes are, as suggested above, sometimes affected by School commitments.

    Hopefully, there will be no further adjustments...  

    Thank you for your understanding. 

    Wednesdays:

    Putney, St Mary's Church, SW15 1SN

    Start date: Wednesday 25th April: 

       Lancaster Room: 9.30am Stage Two;  

                                   10.45am Stage One

         Half Term break: Wednesday 30th May.

         Final class:  Wednesday 4th July 2018.


    Thursdays:  

    Putney, St Mary's Church, SW15 1SN  

    Start date: Thursday 26th April: 

         The Godly Play Room: 9.45am Stage Two;

                                            11am Stage One

         Half Term break:  Thursday 31st May

         Final class:  Thursday 5th July 2018.

    As you can see, the Summer Term is likely to start at the end of April in Barnes, extending through to the final class planned for 6th July in Barnes...  These dates are early predictions and are thus, likely to change slightly once School commitments and needs become FULLY known by the end of March.  There is a small possibility that the Wednesday classes will need to run through the Half Term break too, due to a class rearrangement on Wednesday 20th June 2018.  

    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 Term, based upon the feedback from my continuing Clients.  

    At a cost of £120, the Summer Term will be 10 weeks in length with each class lasting about 50 minutes.  Clients like to chat pre and post class and so they tend to allow an hour for the experience.  


    Forward planning:

    If you have a new born Baby, or you're simply planning ahead, you can also add you name to the Spring Term Waiting List.  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.

    Hopefully, this information enables you to see how the timetable is constantly evolving as I try to accommodate Clients' needs.  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 the Autumn  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 louisedent@singandsign.co.uk 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 19th April 2018.

     

     

     

  • Venues

    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 has 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
  • Nurseries

    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 louisedent@singandsign.co.uk or via the "Make an Enquiry" button opposite, on my page, to consider this further...

     

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