Here at Barts Busy Bees we use Makaton in our everyday play.

How can Makaton help?

Makaton can help children :

  • Communicating what they want, think or how they feel
  • Making themselves understood
  • Paying attention
  • Listening to and understanding speech
  • Remembering sequencing

The use of Makaton signing is becoming more commonplace in pre-school and Early Years settings as a way of helping young children develop their communication skills.

Makaton is a visual way to develop communication skills, which helps stimulate sounds and words. This visual way of communicating in turn helps to encourage language development, i.e. putting words together. Makaton helps understanding, giving the child or adult an extra visual clue.

Makaton signs help convey meaning, because the signs give an extra clue when speaking, for example ‘Hello’ and ‘Drink’. The signs used in Makaton are from British Sign Language (BSL), which is the language of the deaf community in Britain.

Makaton symbols help learning. A Makaton symbol is a simple black and white drawing that shows the meaning of a word. Symbols are lasting and permanent. Symbols give a child or adult more time to take in information.



Getting started with signing

We can help you get started with Makaton and provide, or guide you to resources to enable you to sign with your child.  Baby/toddler signing classes are usually music and rhyme based, with a focus on getting babies and children used to signing in response to known and repeated words and phrases.

On the Something Special page of the CBeebies website you can join in with Justin singing songs and signing along, watch clips of Makaton signs for many words and print off some Makaton symbols.

Encouraging your child to embrace the idea of alternative communication skills can help develop their general confidence and self-esteem – and also prepare them for signing and symbols used in the pre-school and Early Years environment.