We get asked a lot by email and in class about when the best time to start a sensory development class is and whether babies benefit from attending sessions when they are really young so thought we’d answer this for you and show you the evidence behind our answer!

Babies benefit from sensory development activities from birth

When a little one is born the areas in their brain that process sensory information aren’t yet ‘connected’ so we know from lots of research that playing in a sensory rich way helps them make lots of new brain connections, it is a huge amount of fun and we always hope that we can give you some ideas in class that you can carry on and do at home.

why are sensory development activities important for babies

The Pyramid of Learning by occupational therapists Mary Sue Williams & Sherry Shellenberger informs our programme. When a baby is born, they start at the bottom of the pyramid with their brain and spinal cord. By the time they are ready for academic learning (in the UK this is the age of 5) they need to have acquired all of the skills in the pyramid to prepare them to sit down to learn.

At the very base of the pyramid is our sensory systems which is the first skills that our little ones acquire first before they can build all of the other skills they need on the top of them, they really are the foundation to how we learn and make sense of the world. As adults we are able to process lots of sensory information all at once to make a picture of how we manage in the world and this is called sensory integration. In our babies they get the information from all of their senses separately and through practice and repetition they are able to process information from their senses.

Babies build their motor skills, perception skills, cognition and intellect on top of the information that they receive from their sensory systems

Baby brain development

Your baby is born with over 100 billion brain cells, the most they ever have, and these cells aren’t yet in pathways. When we do activities these cells form pathways in the brain and between birth and the age of three their brains undergo the fastest rate of growth than at any point in their lifespan.

Diagram of synapse density reproduced with kind permission from Urban Child Institute,  from Corel, JL

 

Doing activities with our babies assists their sensory development, helps form the pathways in their brain and repetition really helps the signals go along these pathways quicker.

How does going to a class help?

Our class programme has been developed by an occupational therapist to consider each of our baby’s senses and their brain development. Each of your baby’s senses is stimulated in class to give our baby’s the opportunity to integrate them and we repeat activities often to help brain connections.

This is suitable from birth and while our youngest babies will manage part of the class, they are still benefitting hugely from creating the pathways and repetition that you do at home while your baby is awake will assist these brain pathways.

It can give you the confidence to play with your baby and know that the activities you are doing is helping their brain development, you’ll get an opportunity to ask any questions about baby development and play that you have and you’ll meet our amazing community of new parents too.

When is the right time to start?

When you feel ready. Our classes take place on mats on the floor so whenever you feel able to get up and down and lift your baby you are really welcome to join us. Our youngest baby attending was 13 days old so you are welcome to come play whenever works for you! We’ll give you advice on pacing the activities depending on your baby’s age and we are completely baby led so you are welcome to attend to your baby’s needs by feeding, changing, going for a little walk,  whenever you need to.

How do I find out more information?

If you’d like more information on our classes and venues, please visit our sensory development class information or timetable pages. If you’d like more information on baby development and play you’d be really welcome to attend our free ‘how to play with your baby’ workshop that we run

how to play with your baby workshop

We’d love to welcome you along to play!

 

 

 

the sensory sessions sensory play class for babies in Edinburgh

The Sensory Sessions run our popular sensory development class across venues in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Glasgow and Fife and our classes will soon be found in Perth, Stirling and Dundee.  We’d love to welcome you along to our sessions. In this post today, we thought we’d tell you a little more about what happens in our sessions.

what happens in a baby development class

Our sessions

Our classes are 50 minutes long, the perfect amount of time for a baby, and are split into two sections, a led play session and an exploratory session. When you arrive at our classes you and your little one will be welcomed by our class leader who will help you settle in and find yourself a place on a mat. We’ll explain to you our format, the theme for our class and timings.

Our classes are all themed so you can discover classes such as under the sea, cowboy week, pet week and visual development week at our sessions and each session uses some familiar toys, to build up memory and practice skills, and some new ones too. Our sessions have been developed by an occupational therapist trained in sensory development with babies and she trains our class leaders and is on hand to answer any questions that come up in our classes or in the community group so we are able to tailor our activities to any needs that your little one has.

Class format

The first half of our class is led play, we start by doing several activities together as a group. The activities are planned at a pace suitable for little ones and we do activities that work on our little one’s body scheme, visual development, introduce lots of textures and noises. We also look at their fine and gross motor skills.

We then give our little ones that all important rest, it is a great opportunity for you to meet your little one’s needs by feeding or changing as well as having a chat with your next door neighbour.

The second half of our class is exploratory play, we set up several different areas all based around our theme and talk you through activities to do in these areas. This helps with our sensory integration as we do activities that involve using lots of our senses together.

We end our classes doing calming activities together, to calm our sensory systems down at the end of our fun learning session together.

Calm & relaxed

Our classes are all baby led, never worry about needing to feed or change, if your little one is tired or needs cuddles or you need to move around, we are completely used to it and it is not a problem for us to talk you through the activities at any point in a class. All of our equipment is cleaned between classes to ensure that it is sparkling clean for you to enjoy.

Join us for a complimentary trial

Do get in touch if you’d like any further information or if we can answer any of your questions. You are very welcome to join us for a free trial of a sensory development class in any of our locations, we’d love to welcome you along to play!

free baby class

 

The Sensory Sessions baby group Falkirk

We are delighted to announce that our sensory development classes and baby group in Falkirk will be starting in September 2019 with classes for babies up to a year of age being held in the St Francis Xavier’s Church on Hope Street on Tuesdays at 10am.

Our baby development classes are fun, colourful and follow a different theme each week.  The classes are also completely baby-led so you are welcome to feed or change your little one, or move around for your own comfort during the class.

The classes have been written and planned by an occupational therapist trained in sensory development for babies.  To find out more about what happens in our play classes you can find out more information by checking out this blog post.

You can book our sensory development classes through our booking site and, if you’ve not been to our classes before, we’d love to welcome you along for a complimentary trial.

We look forward to welcoming you along to play at our baby group in Falkirk!

Sensory Development classes in Kirkcaldy

We’re really pleased to be bringing our baby group to Kirkcaldy in September 2019.  All our classes have been designed to help your little one’s development and are written by an occupational therapist who is trained in sensory development with babies.

In choosing our new locations, we are keen to find lovely play spaces where we can hold our classes.  We wish to provide you with  opportunities to learn about development, play & bond with your baby and meet lots of other mums and dads during these sessions.

The classes are all baby led, fun, colourful and follow a different theme each week.  To find out more about what happens in our sensory play classes you can find out more information by checking out this blog post or our frequently asked questions page.

We are also keen to help our lovely parents with ideas and activities for sensory development and play with their little ones at home.  We have put together a library of tips and play ideas and would love you to read through these.  We hope you find them useful and help you engage with your baby.

Classes are available for booking by visiting our booking site and complimentary trial classes are available. You are really welcome to join our classes at any point in our term subject to spaces being available.  Please do let us know if you have any questions we can help with.

We’d love to welcome you along to our baby group in Kirkcaldy!

baby group Linlithgow

We’re really pleased to be bringing our baby group to Linlithgow in early September and would love to welcome you and your little one along to play!  Our classes will be held in the Mackinnon Hall and you can see more details about these sessions on this page.

During these sessions, our aim is to provide you with  opportunities to learn about development, play & bond with your baby and meet lots of other lovely parents.  The classes are all baby led (you are welcome to feed or change your little one as required throughout class) and they are also fun, colourful and follow a different theme each week.

We are also keen to provide you with even more ideas and activities for sensory development and play with your little ones at home.  We have put together a library of tips and play ideas and would love to invite you to read through these and hopefully put them into practice with your own little one.

Classes can now be booked by visiting our booking site and complimentary trial classes are available. You are really welcome to join our classes at any point in our term subject to spaces being available.  Please do let us know if you have any questions we can help with.

We’d love to welcome you along to our baby group in Linlithgow!