Early Learners

A baby signing with its hands

Grow your baby's communication skills and confidence with a range of courses and classes specially designed to combine lots of learning with plenty of fun...

Claire O'Connor has grown her business, babyballet, into an award-winning organisation which now has 58 franchised schools that teach over 10,000 children every week. Claire's dream of bringing ballet to everyone – not just the elite – was created because of her own painful experiences as a child. Her mother was a professional dancer, and Claire was keen to develop her own love of ballet, attending classes from the age of three. But, instead of being the star pupil, Claire found that she and ballet just didn't fit together. This is where she spotted a gap in the market and decided to set up her own fun, non-competitive pre-school classes to focus on learning to dance through having a great time, whilst at the same time increasing every child's confidence.

babyballet school term dates and class timetable are listed online at www.babyballet.co.uk with classes operating locally in malling and medway

Like adults, babies use all kinds of signs and gestures when they're learning to talk. Baby Signing sessions with Sing and Sign encourage your baby to recognise important words sooner and help them to communicate with signs to 'talk' to you before they are able to properly speak. There are several different ways to learn: • In a class: where you attend a weekly Sing and Sign group with other parents and babies • At home: with Sing and Sign Books, CDs and DVDs. • Online: where you can access an extensive members' dictionary of baby signs.

To find your local Sing & Sign class, visit www.singandsign.com/classes/classes-near-you

Funtrain was founded by local mum Peggy Heron, after her daughter, who is now 22, was born with a rare chromosome abnormality that meant she was developmentally delayed and had serious behavioural problems. This led her to attend numerous courses and seminars to help with her development, which allowed her to gain a valuable insight into how young minds work. After her son was born she decided to develop classes to share all the knowledge she had gleaned. Funtrain now organises classes for children aged from one to pre-school. The aim of each session is to develop confidence, positive behaviour and independence whilst in the process growing each child's listening and language skills - all with an emphasis on having fun.

Classes are held in Staplehurst, Tenterden, Biddenden, Headcorn and Mayfield. For more info. call 01580 895326 or see www.funtrain.co.uk. Skippers Hill Preparatory School in Mayfield also runs Funtrain sessions during term time. To book a place, call the school's office on 01825 830 234.