Signs point to success as Sarah's baby business gets off to the best possible start for first class

Sarah Burns, Founder, Little Leaps Sensory & Sign, with her daughter, Phoebe.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: September 14, 2022 | Updated: 14th September 2022

The signs are looking very good for Sarah Burns’ startup business.

Little Leaps Sensory & Sign attracted ten babies and their mums – and one dad – for its first baby sign language class last week.

Sarah, a qualified primary school teacher, said: “I was absolutely over the moon and very pleased.”

The 33-year-old was inspired to learn baby sign language after her daughter, Phoebe, was born with microtia atresia of her left ear.

Microtia is a congenital deformity where the outer ear is underdeveloped while atresia is the absence of the ear canal.

As a result Phoebe, who is nine-months-old this month, wears a hearing aid.

But Sarah, who also offers a wide range of sensory activities for the babies to take part in, stressed Little Leaps Sensory & Sign was open to all babies, both hearing and non-hearing.

None of the babies attending the first class had hearing impairments.

Sarah said: “It’s all about being inclusive and all are welcome.

“We use British Sign Language to teach babies hand gestures that will enable them to communicate their needs and interests before they can talk.

“Building a method of communication will result in fewer frustrations for both parent and child.

“You will notice your baby become excited when they realise that you understand them and this, in turn, will increase their confidence.

“As their confidence grows, they will begin to sign more.

“As their speech develops, they will begin to incorporate words and signs together until they are able to talk.”

Sarah, who worked in insurance for five years before retraining as a teacher, said there were many benefits to teaching a baby sign language.

She said: “There have been studies which have shown that language delays in babies and toddlers can result in behaviour problems.

“If babies and toddlers are able to express themselves through sign language then this will alleviate communication frustrations.

“Sign language is an excellent tool to start encouraging your baby to communicate.”

Sarah is married to Dan and lives in Bournemouth.

She completed a baby sign language diploma before launching Little Leaps Sensory & Sign.

“I looked into the franchise route but it was going to be £3,600 so I went it alone,” she said.

“I love working with children and, through going to parent/baby classes myself, I understand the importance of a warm and welcoming environment where parents and carers can support each other, while making special memories with their baby.”

Each of Sarah’s courses runs for six weeks.

Sessions are standalone but also build upon previous knowledge.

They’re open to newborn babies up to crawling babies.

Sarah said: “Babies start understanding baby sign language from six months old and can start signing back anywhere from eight months old.

“Our classes are currently tailored to ‘pre-crawling’ or ‘crawling’ babies.

“Each week, there is a new theme, such as food, animals, family, bedtime.

“The British Sign Language signs learnt at each session can be used at home on a daily basis to build communication between the parent/carer and their baby.

“The signs are also being incorporated into popular nursery rhymes and babies are exposed to a variety of unique sensory experiences.”

The classes are held at Tesco Tower Park Community Room, Yarrow Rd, Poole.

Sarah, who is shortly to take up a part-time teaching post after finishing her maternity leave, said her ultimate aim was to work full-time on her new business.

She said: “I love working with children and the feedback has been really good.

“I’ve had some lovely reviews.”

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