Baby Sensory is a UK based program that can provide invaluable benefits for both moms and babies.
I had a chance to sit down with franchise owner and class leader, Sondos Haji. She attended Baby Sensory classes with her own two children when she lived in Dubai, so when she moved to Jeddah she realized the need for the program here. Sondos is now among the 400+ franchisees and class leaders who must “complete a rigorous one year training course, shadow existing teachers and learn in great detail about the course and the philosophy behind it.”
Sondos has a very confident, gentle demeanor that contributes to a calm, fun atmosphere; something new moms and babies alike find reassuring. She explained that the program helps reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression, increases bonding between mom and baby and gives moms a chance to socialize and learn from other mothers. She happily described how moms who met at Baby Sensory forged new friendships and spend time together after class. For most new moms, this is an exciting prospect, given the typically isolating schedule of feedings and naps.
Of course babies benefit as well. The brain develops at an astounding rate during infancy. Offering stimulation through all the babies’ senses helps open pathways in the brain that strengthen cognition, language skills, social skills and overall development.
Before and after each activity, Sondos explains how the baby benefits. For example, she uses sign language during songs to help babies improve IQ, listening skills and focus. There is also the amazing ability for the child to eventually sign his or her needs well before they are able to speak. Before tummy time, Sondos tell the moms it is great for strengthening back and neck muscles in preparation for sitting; when they all move a small parachute up and down to send toys flying, she explains that watching objects bounce was great for focus skills and after each activity, she is sure to praise the babies, because it helps build their self-esteem.
There is clearly much we can do to help babies develop well and participating in Baby Sensory classes is a wonderful way to learn how.
Classes are structured with babies’ needs and abilities in mind. Mothers are welcome to step aside to use the changing mat or give a feeding and after 30 minutes of sensory activities, there is a 15-minute free play break for mommies and babies to socialize before finishing the class with a few more activities.
For now, classes run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sessions are open for babies 0-6 months old and 7-13 months old. Nannies are welcome to come as assistants to the mother, but class participation is for moms and babies only. In consideration of working moms, afternoon classes will be added very soon.
Monthly and per term membership packages are available and drop-in classes are an option for busy moms. Please contact Sondos directly for pricing.