I am always trying to find new classes and things to entertain my girl – this week I went to an open day run by Busy Lizzy.
Since I have been young, sign language has played an important role. At summer camps we would sign to certain songs, when I did my placement we had to learn some sign language and when I was in a difficult job sign language classes were a great escape. I wish to share my love of sign with my daughter but it is also great for her development and communication.
For months I have been attending Sing and Sign sessions to much success and entertainment. I am always interesting in finding new classes so thought when I saw a free taster of a sign language session it would be a good idea to try.
I messaged and booked for both their Baby Sign Language and Baby Boogie thinking that these classes were around the corner as shown by the map listed on their event. Once I booked in though the 5 minute walk turned out it would be a 30 minute walk! I rushed out of the house with LO and tried to get their in time at Hove Rugby Club.
In some sort of feat I managed to get us to the Rugby grounds only to find no hint or clue to were I was supposed to be going. There was no clear indication at all and after 5 minutes of running around the building I finally just tried a door and luck would have it, it was the right one.
The class was based in a big room with a cushioned mat covered in toys and lights. The other side of the room was a bar complete with loads of bar stools and places for toddlers to hide.
Now as a flustered mess I did highlight the misdirection and stress and the teacher was polite and professional in her response. That though was when the professionalism ended.
There were only three babies in the class, and this included my little girl. The teacher gives a brief introduction about herself and then an extremely brief introduction about the classes. She didn’t cover any of the positives and then tried to claim that BSL was better for the babies to learn than Makaton – this isn’t correct.
For months I made sure that I got a makaton based course because it is easier for babies or those with learning disabilities yet close enough to transition to BSL later in life. This claim was basically her trying to scare people away from courses like Sing and Sign who are based on makaton. Next she tried to cover her tracks with talk of slang that does exist in BSL – which while is true it seemed more like a way to cover her later mistakes.
We were all asked to introduce ourselves, and then taught the signs for their welcome song. It was a very simple song with only about 5 very basic signs that repeated and repeated. LO was very quickly bored – this was basically what happened the rest of the session. The teacher would start by showing the signs for a song and then would do a basic or well known song.
My LO spent most of the time running off and exploring the rest of the room – the lesson was too slow paced and dull for her. The mat was also too overwhelming with lights, animals, paper and more so LO avoided it. I spent so long running around that if I was new to sign language I would have probably learnt nothing.
Constantly the teacher would get her signs wrong or she would forget them. She kept correcting herself from me. At one point she even mentioned how “professional” my signing was. With all the prompts she kept losing what thing she wanted to sign about next, which stopped the rhythm of the class.
Sing and Sign classes have spoiled me maybe but they are so well organised and designed that Busy Lizzy’s attempt at sign language was just so frustrating. Having tiny babies and toddlers together does not work. A giant room where toddlers can run off and hide takes away what both parent and child can learn. A teacher who keeps getting signs wrong was sloppy and some of her information was wrong.
As you might have gathered I thought very little of the sessions and will not be going back. In fact I didn’t return for the Baby Boogie session later that day. With only three sessions that are toddler friendly locally and the location actually really far away I won’t be getting membership.
As there is not a waiting area, as the class ended it was filling up with parents coming in. I was having to put LO in her pram as she cried while the next class started.
For some Busy Lizzy might be a great thing and maybe if I had done it when LO was really little I would have benefited from access to far more classes. For me though there was so much that confirmed my opinion. I think the final nail in the coffin was hearing, as I was leaving heard the teacher going on about reflexology being about drawing out toxins, something that yet again is wrong.
Overall Review: 1/5
Class Content: 1/5
Have you tried Busy Lizzy? What was your opinion of their classes? Have you tried baby sign language? Leave a comment below!
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