February 23, 2022 7.00 am

TinyTalk: Lincoln woman teaches babies and parents pre-speech sign language

Helping parents communicate with their children earlier

A mother from Lincoln has been teaching newborns and their parents how to communicate through sign language in order to develop social skills and relationships before young ones learn to speak

Danielle Ashby, 38, is a mother of three (Jacob, 6, April, 3, and Erin, seven months) from Lincoln who has regularly attended British Sign Language classes since the birth of her eldest child.

The classes were put on by TinyTalk, a business created by Katie Mayne in 2002 with the idea of increasing communication and inspiring relationships between a parent and their young child before they develop their speech.

The interactive sessions help develop all-round social skills at an early age. | Photo: Hello Bud Photography

Since launching, there are now over 100 TinyTalk franchises across the UK, teaching over 7,000 young families and delivering nearly 500 classes each week.

It is recognised as the leading provider of baby sign language in the country, partnering with the likes of Harrods and Tesco, as well as gaining national recognition when recently crowned winner of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here Danny Miller documented his sign language journey through TinyTalk with his son Albert.

The kids seem to absolutely love being at TinyTalk. | Photo: Hello Bud Photography

Danielle decided to take matters into her own hands in November 2021 after her previous teacher at TinyTalk was no longer able to run classes in Lincoln, so she took up training to become a teacher herself.

TinyTalk Lincoln was then officially launched in January 2022, with weekly classes suitable for babies from birth to two years old. Danielle currently teaches around 20 families spread across two classes, and is hoping to eventually branch out to bring ToddlerTalk to Lincoln later in the year, which will be suitable for children up to four years old.

There is time for independent play and socialising during the sessions. | Photo: Hello Bud Photography

Danielle told The Lincolnite that she was inspired by the benefits of attending these classes and couldn’t sit by and watch Lincoln miss out on the opportunity to hold these classes.

“I have loved attending these classes over the years and felt Lincoln would be really missing out. I have seen firsthand the huge benefits that come with TinyTalk and signing, reducing communication frustrations between baby and parents, the amazing bonding experiences, developing language skills and social interaction skills with other babies.

“This has developed into a passion of mine to share these skills and experiences with other babies and parents so they too can see the amazing benefits.”

Danielle has been attending TinyTalk classes for years, and now runs them every week in Lincoln. | Photo: Hello Bud Photography

Each session is an hour long and is held every Friday morning during school term time at Lincoln Rugby Club on Lodge Lane in Nettleham, teaching 150 core signs broken down into different weekly themes catered to everyday routines for babies and their parents.

Popular nursery rhymes are taught in sign language, as well as general communication, and hands-on sensory activities are put on to enhance their all-round social development, from motor skills to visual tracking and hand-eye coordination.

There are multiple fun elements introduced to keep the young children engaged. | Photo: Hello Bud Photography

If you want to get involved in TinyTalk Lincoln, you can follow the Facebook or Instagram pages, or email Danielle to register your interest.