Monday, 13 September 2010

Afterschool activities in Edinburgh: Baby Sensory

Miss B and I were on a very long waiting list to attend our local Baby Sensory classes and have finally managed to get a place at long last, hurrah. We love these classes. Of all of the mad dancing, singing, signing classes we have attended, this has to be my favourite. Baby Sensory provides hundreds of sensory development activities that are great fun for parents and babies to share in the vital first year. The classes include fibre optic light shows, bubbles, bells, musical fun, baby signing, puppet shows, amazing light balls and so much more. Once you have experienced our parent and baby activities you will want to come back next week for more captivating experiences. The session is busy yet relaxed and the range of activities really stimulate the kids. So much so that I have to make sure that B has a sleep before the event as it's really tiring. 

The Baby Sensory programme consists of over 40 themed lesson plans, so every week you will share new sensory experiences with your baby. Many of the baby development activities are set to our own Baby Sensory music which is included in your welcome pack for a small fee. 

The instructors are really brilliant. Our teacher Penny really cares about the kids and takes the sensory experience and it's benefits for your child's development really seriously. The various baby activities aim to build up a vocabulary of sensory experiences (e.g. visual, auditory and tactile), to enhance physical contact (massage, reflexology, touching, cuddling and rocking) between you and your baby and to promote the development of speech through the use of sign language, music, song and puppets.

Activities vary weekly.  All activities are excellent for developing physical, social and emotional, and language skills, co-ordination, awareness of the world, a love of music and the concentration so needed for further development.

Recent research (from the official website) illustrates that the most important time for development is the first year of life.
  • Language development – many parents experience intense frustration in understanding their baby’s signals.  Sign Language is one way of taking the guesswork out of parenting.
  • Physical development – although babies should always sleep on their backs, tummy time is an essential aspect of development from birth.  Babies need to be on their tummies in order to go through the fundamental movement patterns that stimulate both sides of the brain.
  • Social development - happy social play sets the tone for the acquisition of future skills such as cooperation, turn taking and sharing.
  • Emotional Development – massage is one sensory delight that really strengthens the bond because it provides an opportunity for parents to express their love.  
Pond Dipping at Baby Sensory Classes
“Pond-dipping”, one of many shared social experiences that babies enjoy at Baby Sensory.
During social activities, babies show a great interest in each other. They may extend their arms, hold hands, gurgle and coo to each other or kick and wriggle their legs as if conversing with each other. Even though their level of play is solitary, the way in which they interact with each other suggests that they are already social beings.
Country Garden at Baby Sensory Classes

Parents and babies exploring the wonderful world of scents during the Baby Sensory “Country Garden” session.
The sensory organs for smell develop as early as 15 weeks gestation.
The newborn soon discovers which smells delight, settle and soothe him and which ones are unpleasant. In fact, the baby uses his keen sense of smell to learn about every facet of the outside world.
Baby Sensory introduces you and your baby to a world of rich and varied sensory experiences in a creative and enjoyable environment to encourage learning and development. 

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