Tots On’s youngest reviewers, aged 13 months and 8 weeks were recently invited to try out one the Sutton area’s Baby Sensory classes, run by Suzie Franck. With 11 months between them, we wanted to see if the class, designed for babies aged 0-13 months, could meet the very different needs of our boys. It didn’t disappoint….
We attended the Tuesday morning Baby Sensory session at North Cheam Sports and Social Club. The class was full with around 15 carers (including mums, dads and grandparents) and babies but there was plenty of space in the room, so it did not feel crowded or chaotic, even with the pushchairs.
It turned out that we had brought both the youngest baby and the oldest, with most babies aged four months plus. As soon as we put the boys down on the padded mats, they were instantly taken with shiny foil pom poms, which introduced the theme of the days’ class; SPARKLES.
This was followed by other visual sparkles including shiny fabrics, foil blankets, bubbles, dim lighting and balloons as well as musical sparkles including chimes and instruments. All props given were exceptionally clean – very important as babies tend put them straight into their mouths.
The theme of the classes changes weekly and incorporates various sensory activities which bring the theme to life including singing with actions, music, sign language, puppets, sensory play, lights, textures, colours, food, parachute, bubbles and balloons. Babies can also dress up for the optional fancy dress sessions that tend to run at Halloween, Christmas and Easter.
Each class is an hour long, split in to three twenty-minute segments. There are two twenty-minute sensory segments, one at the beginning and one at end of the class. During which, parents and babies sit around in a square on padded mats and follow Suzie’s instruction as to each sensory activity, all designed to support baby’s development.
A twenty-minute play time, which breaks up the two sensory segments, enables babies to explore and discover new toys and experiences set up at various play stations around the room including ball pits, walkers, soft play, baby gyms, play tents and more. Whilst babies play and interact with one another, parents can chat and make new friends. Everyone was really welcoming at the class we attended.
Class leader Suzie is friendly, bubbly, approachable and above all, great with the little ones. She has her own 14-month-old, a Baby Sensory alumni, so understands the needs of babies and their parents.
With our littlest breastfeeding every five minutes and the big one just learning to walk, Suzie approached us at the beginning of the class to assure us that it is perfectly fine to let the babies do what they needed to do during the session, be it feed them, let them sleep, crawl or walk. This instantly put us at ease.
Our 8 week old loved listening to the music and it was great to see him smiling away to the sound of the chimes. Whilst, the big boy, at 13-months, (the top end of the class), was able to fully engage in all of the sensory activities. Despite being slightly distracted by the temptation to crawl under a nearby table, it was clear he was enjoying the class and was completely captivated by Suzie.
Although there are lots of similar baby classes around, the structure of the Baby Sensory course and the fact that each class provides a new experience, makes it one of the best we’ve tried. At just £8 per hour-long session, it’s also reasonably priced.
Weekly classes for babies aged 0-13 moths operate in North Cheam, Banstead and Carshalton, costing £88 per term for 11 sessions (£8 per class). The autumn term starts week commencing 8 September 2014.
Classes for babies aged 0-8 months and 5-13 months are also available and there is flexibility for parents unable to commit to the full term due to work commitments etc. Simply discuss your needs with Suzie directly.
FREE TASTER SESSION….
Don’t just take our word for it, try for yourself by booking on to one of the FREE taster sessions taking place this summer at the following locations:
‣Sutton Central Library on Thursday 21 August from 11.00-11.30 for 0-13 months
‣Pavilion Café, Beddington Park on Wednesday 3 September from 10.30-11.00 for 0-13 months