Trust Us, You Don't Need Baby Classes
That's right, you don't need baby classes. There's absolutely no evidence to suggest sensory classes, or even signing, helps your baby's development. Let's look at typical baby class elements one at a time:
Music is great for neurological development, especially when it's live Live music helps the neural pathways towards speech and language form, which is why we sing to our babies, and speak to them in a sing-song voice: but you will naturally do this anyhow: we are hard wired to help our babies develop: live music in classes? Wonderful, but you are talking and singing to your baby constantly anyhow, you're already doing the heavy lifting.
It's great fun, and tires baby out, but there's no evidence to suggest it does anything more, While sensory classes are great, and may well offer some benefits, what they are remains to be seen: it's important to remember everything is sensory and brand new for your baby, you're much more likely to make a judgement on whether something is pretty or fascinating in a baby class than they are, everything is fascinating to a brand new person, and a bit of foil or a sock on the kitchen floor is every bit as amazing as a sparkly sensory prop in a class.
The 'signs' are good, but there's no firm evidence signing is good for your child's development. It looks like signing helps your child develop good gestural communication skills, and parents who do it, swear by it: however while it may accelerate communication and development, what are the benefits of that, the development will happen anyway, and besides, it remains to be seen scientifically that there are any benefits, which is the only evidence we trust.
Our babies and toddlers are hard wired to develop physically, and will happily roll, crawl, and grab in their own time. You have years of school ahead of you, where your child will endlessly work towards the next level year on year, with no 'A' grade to put a stop to it all, you'll feel the endless pressure of shopping until you drop for World Book Day costumes, there will be endless homework deadlines, maths exam flash card madness, and on it will go, with no end in sight, until their A Levels or GCSEs are finally over. There's no need to put pressure on yourself because your baby isn't rolling yet, they'll do it in their own time, and it won't effect how well they speak Spanish or play basketball later on, there's no schedule they're working to: relax, the first year is hard enough as it is.
SO WHAT'S THE POINT OF CLIP, THEN?
It sounds like we're talking ourselves out of a job, doesn't it? Well, we hope not: but we don't want to lead you up the garden path either. The truth is, you are the engine that drives your child's development, everything else is icing on the cake, and while coming to classes is great, it's not something to worry about. Here's why classes are worth doing...
LIVE MUSIC IS FANTASTIC FOR DEVELOPMENT
You do it all day when you sing to your baby, and so do we in class: live music is fantastically good for forming those all-important neural pathways that will give your child a robust start towards things like reading. We have saxophonists, flautists, harp players, pianists and more, and of course we all sing and play ukes and guitars, we have a brand new music programme and of course our classic drama and music classes which are packed with stimulus and exercises designed to aid attainment. We can help you take a load off for an hour and expose your child to new sounds and experiences in music and speech, which makes their little brains light up like fireworks.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE IS EXCELLENT TOO
At CLIP, we steep everything in story, add metered rhyming speech and add musicality to our spoken words. This kind of exaggeration, or ''parentese'' as it's called, enhances those all important pathways developing. Our unique background in acting and music, our expertise in acting Shakespeare in particular, coupled with the science and research we've been involved in, had lead us here: in short, having your baby surrounded by actors who really know how to use their voices and work with exaggerated speech is great for development: and again, we are carrying the load for an hour.
YOU CAN'T BEAT SOME PRO-SOCIAL TIME
For them, and you, being with others is really excellent and needed for attainment. It's key, we need to engage with social behaviours to attain and be rounded humans, so it's a chance to get out and get your baby socialised, and as we have our open ended classes for babies and newborns, you can chill out and chat to other parents indefinitely while the babies play. Evidence suggests babies as young as six months old exhibit solidarity when another baby cries, so building on that innate empathy is great, it's key to later learning, which is why we offer a range of pro-social exercises in class too, for babies and of course, toddlers.
THE OTHER STUFF
There's absolutely no harm, and no doubt lots of benefits to the other stuff, like signing and sensory, but we suggest you don't take any of this too seriously, because what is really important is your well being, so worrying about whether your baby is missing out, or not doing things early or well enough, won't benefit either of you. Your baby is constantly exposed to ways to communicate, and is surrounded by things to stimulate them. We've been developing without classes for thousands of years, with some pretty spectacular results.
SO WHAT IS IMPORTANT, THEN?
We have a bucket list of things we think are really important we've touched on some of them here, and you can read about it in our next blog. But for now, why don't you go off and have a nice time with your baby and we'll see you soon x