WHAT WE DO

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BABY MASSAGE & SENSORY PLAY

Baby Massage is a 5 week course, where we learn simple massage strokes and their benefits for your babies' legs and feet, arms and hands, tummy, chest, back and face. Baby massage is extremely popular for many reasons, massaging your baby can alleviate common issues such as constipation, wind, stuffy noses and sticky eyes. It is a fantastic way to deepen the bond with your baby. If you would like to book on to a course please contact your local childrens centre.

Sensory Play has elements of baby massage and is a very sparkly, relaxed environment for you and your baby to explore sounds, textures and mirrors. Aimed at developing sensory awareness and bonding with your baby.

 

MINI MOVERS

Mini Movers is an active class aimed at crawlers upwards. We use a variety of exciting props (dancing scarves, jingle balls, bean bags etc) to engage children and have lots of fun learning through movement! We aim to develop simple numeracy and literacy skills through action songs, dance and other group activities. We encourage movement and like all our classes - we dont expect children to sit still, we want them to engage in activities at their own pace. Aimed at developing gross motor and listening skills.  

ROUND AND ROUND THE GARDEN

An outdoor session, suitable for walkers onwards. Your toddler can earn a weekly badge engaging in activities outside. We explore outside through finding mini beasts, playing in the sand pit, on the slide, in the mud kitchen and even growing our own vegetables!

BUILD A STORY

Story telling with a difference - You and your child can build parts of the story using building blocks! Highly interactive and lots of fun! Aimed at building listening and communication skills, suitable for ages 1-5.


RHYME ADVENTURE

Rhyming journeys to learn and develop fine motor and listening skills. We use play dough to build muscle strength in hands and we focus on a different letter sound each week. An upbeat and highly interactive session aimed at ages 2-5.

NURSERY AND SCHOOL SESSIONS

We are able to provide tailor made packages to compliment themes and topics.   
If you would like to discuss running Mini Elephant sessions in your nursery or school, please contact us



Want to know why we do what we do?

So you would like to come to a Mini Elephant session but you are unsure what's involved and what the benefits are - read on! In a lot of our sessions we include listening, massage, noisy activities, parachute play, messy play, songs, recognition of colours and numbers and mark making - to name a few! But what is it all for and what are we aiming to do? As a primary school teacher and mum to two toddlers, I am always looking for ways to aid development whilst bringing the fun factor to our classes and standing out from the crowd by doing things a little bit different.

Listening skills - we often use a variety of genres of music to listen to whilst catching bubbles, for example. We also listen to sound effects and include unusual instruments in our sessions such as the giant rain shaker and singing bowl. For very young babies this can encourage sounds to be 'isolated' rather than listening to one general background hum. Listening skills can also help with understanding cause and effect - for example when we use our egg shakers. For toddlers we expose them to a wide variety of music they may not have heard in every day life and we encourage movement to this music, developing gross motor skills.

Singing songs - We sing a mixture of easily recognisable nursery rhymes, which many babies and tots will have had sung to them at home (so building up a familiar understanding and sense of belonging) as well as some Mini Elephant songs which are usually sung to the tune of recognisable melodies. I often ask parents and carers to repeat the song in high voices and low voices, which usually gets lots of smiles from little ones and parents alike! Babies can recognise their mothers voice even before they are born so it is no wonder that some prefer the sound of their mothers voice to other sounds. Singing in a high pitched voice is particularly good as the way the ear develops responds to this pitch and can be exciting for your little one, in the same way that lower tones can be soothing. We encourage talking to your baby even before they can understand what you are saying through explaining what colour scarf they have been given or even pointing out the ears on our elephant puppets. This all helps to have previous sounds to build upon understanding for later language development.

Peekaboo games - We usually always use elements of peekaboo games in our classes through props such as scarves and parachutes. Chiffon scarves are particularly good as it allows baby to see that you have not disappeared even though you are slightly out of sight. Beyond 6 months old babies begin to understand that if they cannot see something it does not mean it has gone, which is why we use our puppets to hide and then reappear.

Massage - The sense of touch is the first sense to develop in the womb. Babies crave touch and as a professional baby massage instructor I use lots of elements of massage in my classes. Baby massage has a huge amount of benefits from aiming to encourage bonding and attachment, increase circulation, relief from teething pain, stuffy noses and chests, aid digestion and relief from wind/colic and constipation. Often when babies get to a certain age they prefer to work on their skills in crawling, rolling, sitting and walking than laying still for a massage, which are very important skills which we would never not encourage in our classes. The idea that children must sit perfectly still and quiet for a full session is unreasonable and goes against our encouragement of building up gross motor skills for movement, balance and co ordination. Therefore we have developed some ways to carry on developing the sense of touch through massage in the form of songs, rhymes and tickling games.

Noisy activities- Activities such as using our drums help to develop understanding of cause and effect. Lots of young children take great joy in creating loud noises as an exciting early achievement. A really important factor in this is sharing the enjoyment with adults and other children alike. Noisy activities can build up confidence and a sense of belonging and identity.

Parachute Play- The amount of activities you can do with a parachute are almost endless. We use a range of parachutes and lycra to stimulate the senses of sight, touch and sound. We experiment with different tempos and sing songs whilst children explore from above or underneath (especially when using our sea bed parachute with lots of sparkly dangly elements) Even playing simple BOO games encourages the sense of belonging.

Physical development - As a baby yoga instructor, I am very interested in encouraging movement right from a very young age. We offer aspects of baby yoga in our classes which can mobilise joints, aid digestion and tone muscles. We aim to develop the nervous system through balances, swings, dips and bouncing. Once your little one is mobile we offer development of these important skills through ball play and our textured sensory pathway, which your little one can crawl or walk along and explore the textures. We also offer a light show in our sensory play classes, which can aid visual tracking and development understanding of colour. Our Mini Movers class is designed for crawlers onwards and covers a whole range of activities perfect for physical development, through dance, balancing activities, games and fun activities.

Messy Play - We use lots of aspects of messy play in our sessions. We nearly always use edible ingredients (although some wouldn't taste particularly nice!) These activities can help with -  Physical development (encouraging movement and co ordination, fine motor skills through mark making, comparing textures - rough, smooth, hard, soft etc).Communication and language development (messy play gives many opportunities to share ideas, describing, eye contact).Creative Development (messy play is open ended, babies/children can explore in their own time and in their own way).

Our classes are inclusive to everyone, your little ones are in charge so feel free to feed/change/get up and walk around. Most of our activities last a few minutes before we change to something else, this allows you child to participate in the activities that interest them. We offer an excellent value, social experience and the only thing we expect is for you to have fun!!