"I have taken my son, James, to The Best Start Club baby signing classes run by Iris Powell in Tyttenhanger since he was 10 weeks old (he is now just a couple of weeks from turning 1). He has progressed through 3 stages of classes and I've loved how the stages are age-appropriate and well-structured. Each week we've covered a new topic, learning the signs and using singing, music and movement to practice the signs and present them in a fun and engaging way. James loves music and really enjoys the singing, movement and dancing, and playing with the instruments and scarves.
Since we began going, James has shown an increasing interest in everything, but especially people's hands and gestures. Myself and my partner, and my parents too, have made every effort to sign with him as much as possible, recognising the benefits there are to being a signing family. James recognised signs within a few weeks of starting classes and first signed 'milk' at 4 and a half months. Other classes in the area didn't take babies below around 6 months, and I worried I was being a pushy Mum by wanting to start signing straight away, but I've learned from Iris that babies are never too young to benefit from her classes and I really can't recommend The Best Start Club enough to anyone wanting to enhance their communication with their babies and toddlers - whatever age you want to start at. "
James's mum, St Albans
"My son was only 15 months. He came into the kitchen one morning at 10.00am and signed 'milk' and 'sleep' to me. This was 2 hours before his normal nap time. He normally napped at 12 noon. I gave him his milk and put him down in his cot. He slept for the next 2 hours. I was amazed by how simple it was for him knowing he was understood. He was telling me something I couldn't possibly have known as he was so matter of fact, so content. He was too young to speak it."
Thomas's mum, Welwyn Garden City
"My little boy, Max, has been going to Iris's classes since he was just 3 months old - and he's now 2 years. Technically, we don't have to keep going 'cos he really got the hang of signing early on, but he has always LOVED the classes since an early age. On Wednesday mornings he jumps out of bed - no arguments about nappies or clothes & starts signing 'signing' and 'lady' & chatting about his friend Letty. Being a red head, I'm convinced that learning signing has reduced his frustration with not being able to explain what he needs and greatly lessened the number of tantrums we face with him. It's also amazing to see what they can understand and talk about, way before their vocal chords have caught up - it reminds me constantly to not underestimate him.
Now that Iris also teaches Kindermusik it's perfect for a toddler, as the props help to keep them in one place! Iris clearly loves teaching signing. I go to the classes in Tyttenhanger, St Albans, where we also get a chance for a coffee and a chat afterwards and then a play in the playground on-site. It's a very good value morning, which results in a happy, sleepy and contented nap afterwards.
I hope you love the classes as much as Max and I do. "
Max's mum, St Albans
"I wanted you to know that Ruby and another boy in her class at day care are far more advanced in their speech and communication than the other children their age and I think this is more than coincidence that they have both been to your baby signing classes. As you know, I'm your biggest fan and always recommend your classes to everyone!
I wanted to thank you for your great teaching and enthusiasm over the last 2 years and to say how valuable our learning at baby signing has been and what enjoyment we've had on our Friday mornings during term time.
I wish you every success in the future of the Best Start Club and thank you whole heartedly! "
Ruby's Mum, Hatfield
"At just 6 months my son now does the signs for "milk", "changing nappy" and "sun". When he wants me to sing "Incey Wincey Spider" he signs "sun". When I start to sing he smiles at me and stops doing the sign, as I finish he signs it again. He also recognises many more signs. I am so proud of him."
Aarons mum, Welwyn Garden City
When we were on holidays Amber did the sign for milk (at 4 months and 3 weeks). I had just fed her an hour before that so thought that she couldn't possibly be hungry. She was really insistent with the sign so I gave her a breast and she finished it. Then she signed again with just as much insistence so I gave her the other breast which she also finished. I found this to be amazing. She knew at just under 5 months what she wanted and could tell me.
Amber's mum, Hertford
"I am back at work and therefore won't be able to bring Eva to any classes but wanted to let you know that she is doing very well and she has continued signing since we came to your classes. I am certain the signing has helped her communication and her vocabulary immensely, at 16 months she's a very bright and active child and I definitely put it down to the early signing.
She's now at nursery and doing very well and continuing to sign and starting Kindermusik classes at nursery too.
So just want to let you know that your classes were brilliant for my little one and if/when I have another I'll be coming back while on maternity leave. I really enjoyed them and recommend them to anyone in the area looking for acitivities with their children. "
Eva's mum, St Albans
"We have so much fun exploring her world. We talk and sign and the joy in her face when she knows I understand her lights up the whole family. She also loves joining in singing and signing."
Zoe's mum, Welwyn Garden City
" It has really helped her communicate with me as it is much quicker if she can just sign for a drink rather than screaming and pointing. I have found it really interesting to be able to find out some of the stuff she is thinking eg (age 14mths) sometimes in the week if we come home from shopping I sign we are "home" and she asks "daddy" and I say no she signs "where's daddy" and I have to sign "daddy at work" - without the signing I would have had no idea she was even capable of thinking this much. Although my husband has complained a couple of times that he wishes I hadn't taught her the "again" sign when he having to read a book to her for the 10th time!"
Sophie's mum, Harpenden
"Firstly we want to say we loveeeeeeee your classes soo much! We thought we'd let you know how we are getting on at home. Off the top of my head these are the signs I've seen Mollie do: Baby ,**More** - this is her favourite!! Up, Doggy, Elephant, Duck, Pointing to mouth, Pointing to herself, Hat/Head.
Most recently Mollie and I were waiting in the car for her Daddy. I gave her a small beaker of water which she finished. When we got home [15mins later] she was grizzly and weren't sure why. She made her way to the kitchen sink pointing up and put one finger to the palm of her hand indicting 'more'. In response i filled her cup and gave it to her, not believing she could still be thirsty. She drank the lot."
Mollie's mum, Hatfield
"Thank you so much for letting us join in the class last week We really enjoyed it. I have been busy leraning the songs and remembering the signs ( I actually know more than I thought). I wanted to drop you a line to tell you about Ruby. She has amazed me she's signing so much she does milk, change, more, fish, eat, monkey, pig, dog, up, down and she signs to the songs Incy Wincy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle and Wheels on the Bus. My friend was so impressed!! We will definately keep it up and look forward to coming again on next week".
Ruby's mum, Welwyn Garden City
Thanks so much for the classes Harriet is doing really well with her signs, they seemed to click all at once. She does 'more', 'bed', 'food', 'cat', 'dog', 'bird, 'drink', 'bee', 'horse' and 'fish'. 'More' is the most useful and most used for when she wants raisins or yoghurt. It's fantastic! Wishing you continued luck with your classes.
Harriet's mum, Sawbridgeworth
Just thought you would like to know that Emma is now signing really well. Many of her signs look similar so context is important. It has proved to be really useful. Instead of having to try to work out if she wants a drink or food she is able to tell me and as we are out and about she signs to tell me the things she can see, often when I haven't noticed them. We are now starting to sort out colours and she's beginning to get the hang of red and blue which are the ones I started with. I just wanted to say thank you.
Emma's mum St Albans
Amélie and I would love to attend another signing course but won't be able to - the travel was definitely worth it...it is just the cost of commuter travel that is proving to be prohibitive. (from south London to Hatfield, Hertfordshire) Amélie's signing is coming on so quickly. She goes to a childminder during the week and they are teaching each other at the moment...it is proving to be great fun. I was thinking during the sessions that Amélie was not taking much notice of all your efforts at the front of the class but I have definitely been proved wrong. The only downside of signing, from my experience, is that my time management is more difficult. If Amélie decides to tell me that she needs her nappy changing or wants a drink or something to eat - I can't ignore the signs!!! Previously, I was far more dictated to by time points I perceived to be appropriate rather than actual Amélie requirements. Thank you so much for your introduction to signing.
Amélie’s mum, South London
Merrily regularily signs 'hot' when she is heading towards the radiators or pointing at cups of tea of coffee - the challenge now is to explain that 'hot' also means 'not to touch'! Best of all though, she was having her dinner recently and I forgot to blow on one spoonful. She immediately signed 'hot' and shook her head.
Merrily's mum, Stevenage
Signing is helping me understand the world Aino is living in. She signs the birds whenever she hears them and also when she sees a fly in the house. The other day when a car alarm went off she signed 'car'. I don't know if she really knew that was a car alarm but many things she tells me by signing are the sounds I would have not noticed unless she told me - many of those sounds are background noises to me. It is really nice to know what she is experiencing and trying to tell me when she hears and sees. Thanks again and looking forward to next term.
Aino's mum, St Albans
Sophie’s speech is coming on so much, everyone says how clear her words are, and the words she is using are the ones where she has also learnt the sign. It has given her such a brilliant start I just wanted to thank you and say we can’t wait for the next term to start.
Sophie's mum, Welwyn Garden City
Thank you for the warm welcome you extended to John and myself. I hope your classes continue to be successful.
Grandparents to Imogen and Mia, St Albans
Megan is coming along really well with her signs and over the past two weeks can sign 'flower', 'bubbles', 'bird', 'sun' and also the sign for'signing'! She said her first word 'bubbles' whilst signing it for the first time!!! I must say I didn't think she'd have such a signing vocabulary before the age of 1 - I'm chuffed to bits! She can do about 12 signs altogether. Thanks, Iris.
Megan's mum, Hertford
Just a little note to say thank you ever so much for being such a lovely sign language teacher. Anna and myself, and of course our babies Matthew and Millie have really enjoyed your classes. ...,We really have learnt a lot from your classes and will definitely use our signing skills with our next babies when they eventually come along. Thank you again, we wish you well for the future.
Matthew and Millie’s mums, Welwyn Garden City
Baby Signing is recommended by Health Professionals, Speech Therapists, Teachers, Child Psychologists and Language Experts across the world.
"Having been present at Iris's introductory sessions I found her enthusiasm and passion for baby signing left me with the feeling of wanting to know a whole lot more. It seems a great way to enhance communication alongside the development of speech."
Fiona Payne (Health Professional)
"Fantastic, inspiring what else can I say. It's all about giving the babies a better start and it works. I recommend Baby Signing to all my clients."
Melissa Quinn (Independent Midwife)