Welcome to Baby Sensory

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1 Welcome to Baby Sensory What makes Baby Sensory classes so special? This document provides an overview of the benefits of Baby Sensory and outlines the key design features of the Baby Sensory programme. The benefits of the Baby Sensory programme Baby Sensory sessions are fun for parents and their babies. Parents from all sections of the community happily attend the weekly groups. The sessions have the following benefits: Each session includes valuable parenting tips and guidance. The activities are designed to help with early sensory development and are particularly suitable for babies with physical and/or sensory impairments. Parents learn techniques which enhance bonding, reduce stress and aid sleep. New parents meet with others at the weekly sessions and create a self-supporting community. Unique session plans The Baby Sensory programme comprises 40 discrete session plans (plus extra Lesson Plans for special occasions). These sessions have been designed to support the early development of babies through exposure to a wide range of stimulating sensory experiences. A number of features of the programme design warrant specific mention: The sessions are fun for parents and babies and every session is different. Thus once a parent has brought their baby along to one session they can't wait to come back the next week. Each session incorporates an exploratory play element which is a perfect time to socialise and build relationships with other parents and babies. Every session includes ideas for parents to try out at home using materials that are readily accessible. Many parents involve their partner in these activities at home and thus extend the benefit of the programme beyond the weekly session. The overall programme provides a rich environment full of interesting sights, sounds, smells, colours, materials and language. These help to build a solid foundation that makes all subsequent learning easier. The 40 session plans also provide a training programme to the course leader, building in complexity with each successive term. Each lesson plan includes detailed information about the learning and developmental benefits of the activities. The plans also refer to research, which underpins the whole programme.

2 Baby Development Does early stimulation really help? During the first year, babies learn more than at any other time of life. Connections made between the brain cells will double the weight of the baby s brain by the first birthday. These connections only begin to form when the baby first uses his/ her senses and rapidly form in the first three months, which is why sensory stimulation from birth is so important. Does the Baby Sensory programme use proven techniques? Baby Sensory is a holistic programme that calls upon the findings of experts and provides an exciting and stimulating development environment for babies and their parents. Baby Sensory founder Dr. Lin Day (Dip. Ed, BSc, PGCE, M. Phil, PhD), has been working with babies and young children for over 30 years and through continuous research she has selected a range of activities which provide high quality learning experiences. As an example, we adopt Maria Montessori for Sensory Development, Jean Piaget for Early Learning, John Bowlby for Comfort Techniques, Mary Sheridan for Visual and General Development and Keller Pringle for Play as a prerequisite for mental growth. What equipment is used at the sessions? We use an extensive range of equipment at the classes and also provide ideas that parents can try at home. By way of example, babies explore a range of readily available fabrics such as chiffon scarves, feathers, silk and foil blankets in the activities. Chiffon scarves can be used in peek-a-boo activities. A five month old baby will laugh if her head is covered by a chiffon scarf. She will also be able to see through it making her feel safe and secure. The foil blanket is a unique tool for combining a wide range of developmental functions. When the baby sees the foil she will reach out to explore it and will concentrate on squeezing and crumpling the foil for a long period of time. The foil blanket is also used in conjunction with a number of our special light show experiences. Parent experiences We often hear stories from parents, who have been to our classes, about how their baby has acquired new skills. One parent who has recently returned to Baby Sensory with their new baby and purchased a copy of the Baby Sensory CD was amazed to discover that their older daughter (2 years old) was able to recall and use the signs to the Say Hello song which she had observed when she had attended Baby Sensory classes as a baby one year earlier. The Baby Sensory website holds many such testimonials. Academic research Baby Sensory always supports researchers in their work. A 2014 study on a deaf child, backed by the University of Leeds, confirmed measurable improvements in mother-baby bonding, mothering confidence and positive effects on the babies development through attending classes. Wonderful to get confirmation of what we see in many of our families every day in class.

3 Benefits of Baby Sensory Development of Parenting Skills Introduction Baby Sensory provides an exciting and enjoyable environment in which parents share in developmental play with their baby and develop invaluable parenting skills. In each activity, parents are shown how to perform a technique and an explanation is given as to why and how it may enhance a baby s learning and development. For example, most parents know that singing is important to a baby s learning, but we explain how and why it helps with the development of language. Recognising the value of an activity means that parents are more likely to interact purposefully with baby at home. The development of social relationships between adults is another important aspect of the programme. Parents are encouraged to discuss their needs, interests and previous experiences and to evaluate what they have learned. There are also numerous opportunities for babies to interact with other people. Throughout the programme, parents are shown how to: Hold babies in different ways. Stimulate them using a wide range of techniques and equipment. Communicate using music, speech, singing, sign and body language and other approaches such as 'parentese. Make use of everyday household objects to stimulate play. Interact with baby in a fun and purposeful way. Recognise the value of a regular routine to the emotional development of baby. Bonding Through a variety of bonding activities, parents appreciate the importance of attachment, which may take several months to develop. These may include: Touch Massage Love Voice, eye contact and body language

4 Sleep techniques Babies that spend the night hours awake can leave parents feeling miserable, irritable and unable to cope. Surveys show that up to 15% (probably much higher) of mothers who suffer from postnatal depression do so because they are continuously disturbed at night. The following activities can help to switch on the calming reflex and induce sleep: Cradling Rocking Swaddling Singing Reading Music Bedtime cues Development impact of everyday activities Parents are also made aware that the following can enhance learning and development in later life: Tummy time Physical exercises Visual development exercises Singing and music Signing Play Games Bonding Social experiences Benefits for parents who attend the programme Providing parents with the underpinning knowledge and skills also enables them to: Develop a warm and loving relationship with their baby. Gain confidence in talking, singing, handling, dancing and playing with their baby. Become more aware of the general sequence of development (from head to toe). Use informed knowledge when providing activities at the appropriate point of development Appreciate the value of play. Know why babies need to be on their tummies in order to go through the fundamental movement patterns (e.g. raising the head, rolling over, creeping and crawling). Develop awareness of how music and dance can stimulate growth, develop the senses and establish a sense of rhythm. See baby as a whole person.

5 What happens at a Baby Sensory session? The structure of a Baby Sensory session Every Baby Sensory session has the same basic structure. Phase 1, the first minutes, is made up of a number of sensory activities during which parents sit or kneel on floor mats with their babies placed in front of them on fleeces. The first activity is always our Say Hello song. Once the babies recognise this activity they often show anticipation or excitement. The Say Hello song is followed by a series of 3 or 4 separate activities lasting no more than 3 minutes each. Phase 2, exploratory play, provides the opportunity for parents and babies to socialise and move about taking advantage of the equipment that is set out in the free play area. The equipment in the exploratory play area differs each week. During phase 3, sensory experiences, parents return to the sensory area with their babies for a further 2 or 3 activities followed by a therapeutic or visual experience. Our Goodbye song is always the last activity of the session, which helps to bring the session to a close. What types of activity does a Baby Sensory session include? Baby Sensory have developed a 40 week programme which introduces parents to a wide range of activities, which enable them to interact in a variety of ways with their babies. The sessions include: Baby Whispering and Parentese Baby Massage and Reflexology Sleep Techniques Baby Exercise Signing Action Songs and Rhymes Music and Dance Visual Development Activities Developmental Games o Hide & Seek o Animal Sounds o Shapes, Colours and Patterns o Water Fun and Messy Play o Parachutes and Balls o Clapping, Patting, Waving, Pointing and Bouncing Individual and Co-operative Activities Ideas for Home Use Themes (e.g. Baby Pirates, Rock and Roll, Magic, Teddy bears Picnic etc.) Textures Developmental Play

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