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About The Best Start Club

Our passion at THE BEST START CLUB is to give each child the best possible start in life. We do this through the multisensory learning of Baby Signing, gestural communication with speech, and Kindermusik, the world's most respected name in musical learning for children.

Our Baby Sensory Music and Signing programmes, all age appropriate, are packed with musical exploration, singing, dance, movement and fun activities. It’s a multi-aspected learning process for the child, incorporating physical, emotional, cognitive, language, social and musical growth. It’s more than just learning sensory music and baby signing, it’s about the whole child. With signs and gestures sourced from British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL) the babies soon recognise, then use key words and activities impacting their new lives. The medium allows the incorporation of many developmental opportunities in ways that are easy to take up at home including orientation, co-ordination, movement, gentle massage and “the 7 ‘clingy periods of the first year’ and so much more.

With the addition of new concepts and challenges along the way, each age appropriate program acts as a stepping stone to the next paving the way to a musical journey that can last many magnificent years.

We've had the great pleasure of teaching many 1000s of children in our classes and workshops since we started. We have had the privilege of seeing their progress from just a few weeks of age to going to nursery and watched their development as they learned to sign, speak and discover their musical abilities. 

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Iris Powell - Founder - Teaching in Ireland since 2014 after 10 years teaching in Hertfordshire

I have been Baby Signing since early 2001, one of the first to introduce signing to babies in the UK. I launched The Best Start Club in Hertfordshire in 2005.

Starting with my son, now  22, from 2 months, I signed with my daughter, now 19, from birth. It was extraordinary, my little girl clearly recognised her first sign at just 4 weeks, and thus began her own magical journey of discovery. Simple concepts like asking for 'milk', telling us they were 'tired' or sharing their joy or excitement, brought us deeper into their world.

Having explored every opportunity imaginable to sign, through singing, dancing, play, stories, games and so much more, the fun took over and thus began the first foundations of The Best Start Club. I wanted this to be much more than just Baby Signing, yet all focused around this amazing path to early communication.  I decided to bring my musical background into the classes and create a unique blend of sensory music with singing.

I have now seen many of the long term benefits of signing with "hearing" children personally with my children who are bright, confident and express themselves well. Daily, I see, the clarity of speech developing in children in The Best Start Club, many still coming after 3 and 4 years. Many families staying for many years.

It is my heart felt driving passion that this work enhances the lives of babes and children. It's in the title, The Best Start Club; that's just what we try to give each and every young life we encounter. We believe that each and every child is an incredible human being with the most extraordinary intelligence waiting to be unlocked.

Having discovered the joy of signing, I studied BSL (British Sign Language), qualifying at the University of Hertfordshire, then ISL (Irish Signing Language) when I returned home to Ireland. My background is also musical. I studied piano with the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and both classical and acoustic guitar. With a group of friends, in Ireland, we formed The Green Emerald Choir in 1995. We recorded the album "I Will Arise" at Rickling House Studios in the UK, selling several thousand copies across the world. I also hold an internationally recognised teaching certificate from Kindermusik, the world's largest independent music and movement organisation for children.  Continuous musical training is important to me so I reguIarly attend various childrens training programmes including Kodaly, Music is Fun with the famous Sr Karol from Kylemore Abbey, and Colourstrings.  With the new project of bringing The Best Start Club to Ireland the past number of years have been spent learning ISL (Irish Sign Language).  As well as group classes I also teach music in School where I specialise in the Junior and Senior Infant Years in Primary School.  Prior to having my own children I spent many years as and IT Consultant in London as well as being a certified Commercial Pilot and Instructor in the USA.

I look forward to personally meeting you and your little one soon.

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