How much does a class cost?
At £7.50 per class, each 8 week term costs £60. Taster sessions booked once a term starts, cost £5.00.
What are the payment options?
We ask for each 8 week term to be paid in full via BACS, cash or cheque.
How many babies are in a class?
It is really important to us that you feel part of a familiar group and confident to try new activities with your baby, so we keep class sizes to a maximum of 12. This also means that throughout the class you will have the time and space to fully engage in the experience and be able to get to know everyone as you do so!
What is the age range?
We’ve had babies from 8 weeks up to walking. We believe that babies gain a huge amount from socialising with and watching, different age groups interacting and enjoying the sensory fun. Don’t worry, we include differing amounts of challenge and slightly different expectations for ‘very young’, ‘younger’, and ‘older’ babies to make sure they developing appropriately and get the most out of their playtime.
What is the best age to start classes?
When it comes to sensory play, many people mistakenly believe that it best for older babies as they can explore the equipment themselves and it is easier to gage whether they are enjoying themselves or not! However, we all know that sensory stimulation increases brain development – the more sensory play your baby receives, the more connections are firing in their brain!
Whilst it is true that older babies have a different experience to younger babies, sensory play is extremely beneficial for your little one. The key difference is that an older baby will kick, grab, laugh and have a very external response whilst the reactions of a younger baby are usually more internal. They also rely on you to help them to feel different textures and experience certain play but they are perfectly capable of exploring the wonder of different lights, bubbles, the breeze made by a parachute, or to discover the diverse sound scape we provide.
We encourage you to really tune in to your baby, to begin to understand what they like or dislike, and to read the cues they give to communicate their needs. If at any time you feel like your baby is becoming over stimulated, please feel free to sit quietly and have a snuggle or a feed and join back in when they are ready. Your class leader is always on hand to give you tips and encouragement.
What should I wear?
We suggest wearing something comfortable as you will be spending most of the time on the floor with your baby, and definitely not your best clothes! We love messy play and want you to get stuck in and get gloriously messy without worrying about the mess. We provide stacks of baby wipes but recommend you bring a change of clothes and even a small towel for your baby.
What is sensory play?
Sensory play is simply, play that stimulates a babies senses. It is so beneficial to babies because they rely on their senses to experience and understand their world; play is a baby’s natural mode of communication and exploration.Babies are born with very simplistic brains that allow them to communicate their most basic needs but the two halves of the brain are not yet connected. Many scientists and sociologists believe this is to allow babies brains to be formed according to their cultural group.
Why is it so beneficial?
Sensory play is hugely beneficial to your baby because every time your baby’s senses are stimulated (through singing, watching light dance on the ceiling or splashing in the bath) an electrical connection is made that connects the two halves of the brain together. In fact, research shows that a baby makes 700 neural connections per second in the first years of life! Simply put, the more sensory stimulation your baby receives, the more connections are made in their brains, therefore encouraging them to meet their fullest potential.When experiences are repeated, the electrical connection gets stronger, which is why you’ll find our classes have the same structure and familiar experiences each week, in addition to exciting new stimulation which develops new connections!
What are the seven senses?
You’ll all be familiar with the five common senses; sight, smell, sound, touch and taste, but you may be surprised to hear that we have two lesser known, but extremely important senses, the vestibular and proprioceptive senses, which Little Explorers classes also develop!
Your baby’s vestibular sense is their ability to understand and move within the space around their bodies, such as navigating the furniture in the living room or tracking / following a moving toy car. Our classes help develop the vestibular sense by activities such as swinging, rocking, pulling, pushing and rolling.
Your baby’s proprioceptive sense is the understanding of their body and how communication between ligaments and muscles create intended movement and balance. It helps your baby to adjust their body and movements to achieve a desired effect such as reaching out to pick up an object, or managing to stay upright when their little legs begin to wobble! We help develop the proprioceptive sense through activities such as massage, stroking and brushing.
What does ‘play and communication skills’ mean?
When we talk about ‘play and communication skills’ we mean the methods and techniques that an adult uses to interact with their baby, during play. As a baby gets older, the adult role and the way they interact with the child changes, however the essential skills of communicating, and reflecting and echoing back the child’s emotions and thought processes, remain the same. We aim to teach carers high quality skills they can use throughout their baby’s journey into adulthood.
How should I play with my baby?
We believe that absolutely anything can be a played with. It certainly doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it definitely doesn’t have to be an all singing and dancing ‘educational’ toy (in fact, we prefer anything but!) Our favourites are things you can find around the home – especially in the kitchen!The key to play is how you use the material; how you observe, listen and talk to your baby; and essentially, how you and your baby are communicating with each other in that very moment of time. We encourage all parents and carers to focus on their babies and join in their play fully and have as much fun as possible!
How will I learn play skills?
The most effective way for anyone to learn is by ‘doing’ – having a go, taking a risk, making a mistake and then trying again! We ask all carers to sing up, let go and not worry about embarrassing themselves. No one is watching you and your baby does not mind if you say something silly – they are relishing in the fun one-on-one time! That’s one reason we have small class sizes, we aim to build a real community within classes where you feel safe and confident to try new things.
How the class leader will support you
There is no ‘taught’ segment, you will learn these play skills informally and build upon these, week by week. During the sessions, the class leader will give the group snippets of advice and suggestions on how to use the materials, as the action unfolds. She will model how to use the equipment in different ways, and may come and use hers on your baby too.
She will model how to talk to your baby as you play, to build up their vocabulary in meaningful contexts, such as using describing words when exploring a jungle messy play tray or scented play dough.
Crucially, you will tune into your baby and be fully absorbed on their actions and their reactions, to the sensory experiences they are engaged in. Your class leader will model how to echo back your baby’s thought processes through commentating on their actions, and highlighting their emotions. To support you during the Exploration Zone segment of the class, you’ll find Play Cards in each zone, with general play tips and specific ideas of ways to play within the area. Equally, the class leader will make time for you during this segment, to chat and play, and for you to ask any questions should you wish to.
What is the the Early Years Foundation Stage?
The Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS) has been developed to be used by all childcare providers (childminders, nurseries, preschools and in primary schools) to ensure all children receive effective learning experiences from birth to five years old. It aims to develop all the skills and knowledge a child needs to be a successful learner for life.
We recommend downloading the Parent’s Guide: What to Expect, When? Guidance to your child’s learning and development in the early years foundation stage.