“ Classes to boost communication and social skills for preschool children / Address: 108 Warton Street, Lytham, FY8 5HA / Tel: 01253 735355 „
Before I start I must say some of this info you can find on Talking Tots website
Talking Tots was launched in 2005 by 2 friends who were paediatric speech and language therapists. Their experience working with young children convinced them that it's possible to boost any child's language and social skills with the right mixture of encouragement, fun and carefully designed activities.
The first 'Talking Tots' was in Lytham and the founders still do their classes there. Although it has now expanded across the UK and has many franchises.
They have 3 different classes 'Speech Sprites' for ages 1- 2 years. 'Speech Sprinters' - 2 - 3 years and ' Speech Sparklers' - 3-pre school.
I only have experience of the ' Speech Sprites' so that is the class that I will write about.
What it's all about
It encourages listening and attention skills in pre school children from an early age. The classes are very structured and I originally thought (bearing in mind my daughter wasn't 2 when we went) a bit too structured.
Why I chose it
Before I took my daughter to Talking Tots I was thinking about increasing my hours at work and putting her in a nursery that is attached to the school my older daughter goes to. The nursery is from 2 years and school hours (although my daughter isn't quite 2 yet). I thought I would enquire in advance for cost etc. turns out we would be worse off by quite a lot of dosh. I was a bit disappointed because as much as we need the money more importantly our daughter also needs to meet more people. I was only looking at 2 days which would be 9 -3. Unfortunatley we no longer live near family and only see them every 2 - 4 weeks. So I started looking round for some sort of play group for when she was 2ish. I couldn't find any, there were a few mothers and toddlers but not really my thing. I then came across Talking Tots.
I read up on it and e mailed for information etc and found out it cost £5 a session which after trying it out had to be paid up front per term (which is the same as a school term). You also had to pay a one off membership fee of £10 and for this you got a T shirt for your child and a bag with some info in. I thought still not really my thing but my daughter was at an age where she wanted you to be doing things with her so I had to be brave for my daughters sake and give it a go.
I let the people know I would be coming along at the next session was very brave and along we went.
The class started at 9.30am, at first I hadn't found out how long the class lasted. I now know it is for 45 minutes.
When you first get there, there is tubs of toys for the children to play with whilst waiting for the others to turn up. Then it is tidy up time quite strange but the children help pack the toys away. Everybody then sits in a circle and there is a song to introduce each child that is there. The children seem to really enjoy this, my daughter is not really interested in this and finds something else to do until her name is mentioned. Then its big smiles and runs to mummy to sit down.
Once this is over it is some sort of activity my daughter loves it when they get the big yellow ball out.
Everybody sits in a circle and has to use "good listening skills" (although they are too young to understand what they are doing) the teachers roll the ball to a child then tell them to roll it to someone else until everybody has had a go. Then it goes away, my daughter was not impressed with only getting one touch of the ball but now now she seems ok with that and actually waits for her turn.
Once thats out of the way it's quickly on to some activity song like 'The wheels on the bus' 'Okey Kokey' or 'If you're happy and you know it'. Then on to some other listening activity, it could be building bricks and knocking them down when they are told or doing something with scarves or balls. Then it's story time.
After the story it's the goodbye rhyme where they go round the circle saying goodbye to all the children and each child goes up for a sticker when the goodbye rhyme has been sung to them.
What do we think of it
After the first session I thought it was very over priced for 45 minutes and wasn't too sure about wanting my daughter to be sat there waiting for instructions especially at a young age. The first session she was running all over the place and children that had been going for a while were all sitting just waiting. I thought this a bit strange, I like children with a bit of enthusiasm etc. But my daughter liked it so back we went. Now she got into the routine quite quickly but still went wandering sometimes if she didn't like the activity - but that's ok they never try to force the children to do stuff. It's was quite funny at first her and another little girl took to hiding under a table at story time, then they shout "mummy we hiding".
Expensive but I went as my daughter enjoyed it - yet to get her to tidy up at home though!!
My daughter now goes to nursery 2 days one week and three the next and loves it.