Passionate Woodford Green mum stars in baby sing and sign workshops

Singing and Signing is something a baby is bound to do at least a couple of times before they fully grow and mature. 

While ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ might be the first word a child says, some children are learning how to communicate before they can talk.

‘Sing and Sign’ is the original British Baby Singing Programme founded by Sasha Felix, 60, from Brighton. 

It is an award-winning music programme loved by babies and parents across the UK. They have small classes happening every week in various locations in London and beyond. 

Sasha Felix began the programme after signing with her daughter 22 years ago. 

“I signed with my daughter around 22 years ago when she was a baby on the advice of a speech and language therapist to help her delayed communication,” she said. 

As a professional musician it was natural for Sasha to put all she had learned into a baby class with music which other parents could enjoy. Now it has grown into something much bigger than she expected, with 900 classes and over 100 franchisees. 

“I have never advertised for franchisees. The network has grown organically and it is entirely made up of practitioners who ‘get it’ as they have enjoyed the programme with their little ones, loved the idea of teaching it themselves and contacted me.”

One of these teachers is passionate mum-of-three Syrah Martin, 44, from Kent. She has been taking Baby Sing and Sign classes in Woodford Green for over nine years.

Syrah started signing using the Sing and Sign DVD with her first baby who is now 16.

However, it wasn’t until her third baby that she began to think of teaching because there were no classes in her local area. 

She said: “I learnt everything from watching the DVD and it was so beneficial because it turned out my daughter had glue ear and oversized tonsils so she was trying to talk but we couldn’t understand what she was saying. 

“Signing for her was a way to bridge the gap before we knew there was a problem at that point.” 

Glue ear is where the empty middle part of the ear canal fills up with fluid. It’s more common in children but adults can sometimes get it. 

When Syrah’s daughter was later assessed by a speech and language therapist they concurred that it was thanks to the signing that she was able to speak as well as she could. 

Syrah has never had any formal training, in fact all she needed was a love and passion for singing and signing. 

This is a requirement Sasha makes sure all her teachers have. 

“So, in order to teach the programme what Sasha requires is that we have a love for what we do, but I don’t fluently sign in British Sign Language or Makaton,” explained Syrah. 

Baby Sing and Sign is a programme Syrah believes every parent should have access to because it enhances their cognitive development. 

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