Feb 01

Toddler development classes…is there any point? Dr Lin Day says yes.

I have to confess I have always wondered whether going to playgroups or ‘baby gyms’ made any sense – other than give exhausted and socially isolated mums an opportunity to commiserate with others.

According to Dr Lin Day, the founder of Baby Sensory, the baby development classes, they do. This is why, on top of the very successful baby classes, the company is also running Toddler Sense programme.

“Toddlers need to be with other children in order to learn important social skills such as negotiation, turn-taking and cooperation, which form the foundations for cooperative play and relationship building. Even though toddlers do not cooperate, share or make friends until their fourth year, if they have been given plenty of opportunities to play with other children, they will be at an advantage when they go to toddler group or preschool,” the company says.

I can only agree with that. How is a child who has spent the first four years of his life just with his parents going to cope at school? Learning key diplomacy skills from a young age can only be good to mingle with other equally “un-cooperative” creatures at school.

“Toddlers also need structure and a regular routine. Both give toddlers a sense of organisation, stability, comfort and personal control. In a Toddler Sense class, exercise and group play form an important part of the structure and daily routine. The first part of the session involves free-flow adventure play, which offers endless opportunities for exploration, problem-solving and imaginative thinking. Toddlers are encouraged to crawl through tunnels, bounce, climb or clamber over the equipment. They decide what interests them the most and how they will explore the equipment. Adventurers (18 – 36 months) put the equipment away after use, which builds self-esteem and confidence and keeps them busy and stimulated”.

So basically they run till they are exhausted – and, hopefully, that means they’ll sleep better at night – and then TIDY UP!!! Nice one…

“Free-flow play in the adventure area is followed by structured group activities which build the skills that toddlers need for healthy brain development. Activities may include hide-and-seek, music and movement, action songs, rhymes, dance, clapping and patting games, drawing and colouring, puppet shows, parachute activities, football, treasure hunts and interaction with soft toys.”

The sessions aim at being interactive: “Throughout the session, parents join in with the fun and offer toddlers support, praise and encouragement.”

And what about having a cup of tea instead?

Because: “spending time with them raises their self-esteem and emotional security and equips them to handle moments of frustration and anger”.

Well, ok, forget the cup of tea then, if Dr Lin Day says so….

For more information about sensory classes, click here

And for ideas about entertaining young children and turn them into happy, confident and sociable individuals, visit childalert’s website:

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