Tiny Signers

Tiny Signers is an independent teaching organization based in West Yorkshire, England, offering services to children (up the age 11) and their parents/carers, as well as to childcare professionals.

Tiny Signers is working with North Yorkshire County Council to deliver the services and works through the umbrella organizations - The Preschool Learning Alliance and Bradford Under 5's Association.

In the heart of our work is the establishment of inclusive approaches to linguistic diversities through introducing the holistic approaches to the teaching of language/s. Our approach promote appropriate connections between the teaching of ‘mother tongue’, ‘foreign’ languages; the language of instruction, and the languages of migrant communities. We aim to help teaching the children to develop the full range of their communicative abilities. In our approach we aim to enhance communication with young children through the use of signs as a common denominate between the languages. We promote the sign supported language use in the classrooms to integrate children who do not speak the language of instruction as their first language. Most of the basic signs are iconic so children can remember and copy them very quickly. Therefore, signs serve as a bridge between children who are learning a second language and other children, reducing the isolation and segregation of second language learners. Children who are new to settings where signs are used are learning from their peers in a reassuring environment.

Equally, signing allows the nursery staff to tune in to the needs of young children, allowing relationships to be built and strengthened. For example, working and playing in a new environment can be immensely tiring for children and striving to communicate in a new language and puzzling out different ways of participation and behaving can often result in the need for less demanding activities. Signs, however, allow children to express themselves much quicker and thus reduces their frustration as they can communicate their needs effectively. This decreases the amount of time staff spend consoling irritable children and increases the time they have to create a fun and stimulating environment in which youngsters can flourish.

Our services are delivered to childcare professionals and teachers working throughout West Yorkshire. Those working in private (eg day nurseries), public (eg local authority funded childcare settings and schools) and voluntary (eg toddler or play groups) sectors.

We are regularly delivering training sessions at Universities within the programme on linguistics as well as early learning. Furthermore we are also delivering courses on baby signing for students of child care (NVQ level 3 in childcare).

In the last years we have spread our work across the boarders of the United Kingdom. We have introduced the method of gestures supported early language learning to the countries of Lithuania, Austria and Slovenia. Our project Tiny signers has been awarded European Language Label.

As a part of our international work we provide regular training courses for child care professionals in Slovenia (in cooperation with National Institute for vocational education and training of the RS) and offer training's to teachers of English as a second language from other countries of Europe (so far from Sweden, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovakia).

We also organise and monitor the placements for child care professionals and teachers of ESL in UK (Yorkshire regions).

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ADDRESS: 6 New Crescent LS18 4RR Leeds, UK

CONTACT: +44(0)7 981 514 784 | EMAIL: mojca.williams@hotmail.co.uk